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T is strange, but none the less true, that the majo- 
rity of Engl isli men know far less about the real 
state of Ireland than they do about the state of 
continental countries. The result of this ignor- 
ance is an intellectual disability to appreciate a 
character like O'Connell's. We believe this ignorance 
arises from one cause, and from one cause only: it is 
impossible to form a correct judgment on any subject when 
the will is biassed by prejudice, and the incorrectness of 
the judgment will be proportioned to the extent of the 

It has been our one special object throughout the pre- 
sent work to quote from English authorities for proof of 
all assertions made regarding English misgovernment of 
Ireland Irishmen do not need such corroborative evi- 
dence ; but as we believe that this work will circulate as 
largely as other historical works by the present writer 
amongs: Englishmen of the upper classes, we offer them, iD 



proof of our assertions, such evidence as they can scarcely 
set aside. 

We are very far from wishing to add strife to strife ; but, 
the elements of discord, which have stirred the waves of 
popular opinion for some eight hundred years and more, 
are slowly abating. It is true, indeed, that the gibbet and 
the triangle are no longer used to silence the cries of an 
oppressed nation, but Ireland is not spared the lash of the 
tongue, even by those whose position, as rulers of a king- 
dom which is said to be " united," should suggest a wiser, 
if not a more paternal course. 

The prejudice which prevents the calm and dispassionate 

consideration of Irish affairs and Irish character is the 

result, in some cases at least, of culpable ignorance. And 

yer, unfortunately for the national credit, and still more 

unfortunately for the national peace, those who are 

most ignorant are not unfrequently the most confident of 

the correctness of their conclusions. As an evidence of 

this prejudice, warping the opinions of a highly intellectual 

mind, I quote the following extract from the conclusion of 

Mr Lecky's essay on O'Connell, in his work on u The 

Leaders of Public Opinion in Ireland " : — 

When to the great services lie rendered to Fits country we oppose 
the sectarian and class warfare that resulted from his policy, tbe 
fVarful elements of discord he evoked, and which he alone viould in 
some degree control, it may be questioned whether his life was a 
blessing or a curse to Ireland." 

The most cursory acquaintance with the history of Ire- 



land during O'Connell's long and chequered career would 
surely prove the incorrectness of such a conclusion. No 
man was ever more opposed to M sectarian " warfare than 
O'Connell; and, indeed, Mr Lecky admits this himself iu 
the earlier part of his essay, where he says — 

"With the exception of his advocacy of Repeal, no part of his 
Irish po icy injured him so much in the eyes of the English people 
as the opinions he hazarded about the Church ; but judged by the 
light of the events of our own day, they will be pronounced very 
reasonable and very moderate." 

How entirely true this statement is with regard to 
O'Connell's public career is well known, and the present 
work affords evidence. His moderation was the result of 
principle, since in his private correspondence he expresses 
himself as he did in public. When his religion was attacked 
he defended it with the vigour of a man who had a definite 
creed to uphold, but certainly no u sectarian warfare M 
resulted from his policy. Class warfare had existed in 
Ireland too long, and that which pre-existed certainly could 
not " result " from I future cause. That he M evoked 
discord" can only be said of him in the sense in which it 
may be said that a man provokes a quarrel when he is 
obliged to fight for his rights. It would be quite as correct 
to assert that Tell evoked discord in Switzerland when he 
r msed up the Switzers to resist a tyrannical oppressor. 

Mr Lecky concludes by doubting whether O'ConnelTs 
life was a blessing or a curse to Ireland, and yet we think 



Mr Lccky would scarcely deny that O'Connell obtained 
emancipation for Ireland, and that emancipation was an act 
of justice. It is thus that prejudice leads Englishmen of 
the highest intellectual calibre to write, to think, and to 
speak of Ireland. 

There are two evils caused and fostered by this preju- 
dice. Conclusions are drawn on false premises, and, of 
necessity, acts follow which are more than injudicious. 
The Irish are admitted to be an intelligent race, even 
by their worst enemies ; they cannot fail to see the in- 
justice which is done to them day after day by educated 
Englishmen ; and they cannot fail to feel, and to feel 
keenly, that their misfortunes, to use a mild expression, 
which are not their own fault, are made a subject of ridi- 
cule by those whose first object, whose first duty, should 
have been to alleviate them. 

In the limits of a preface it is impossible to do more thau 
to indicate subjects for consideration in connection with 
the work to which the preface is prefixed. We can, there- 
fore, only give Mr Lecky's incorrect estimate of O'Connell'a 
character as a sample of the opinion of educated English- 
men. Having done so, we descend a little lower in the 
intellectual scale, and quote Mr Lowe's recent observations 
on Irish fisheries, as an example, and a most painful one, 
of the flippancy with which Irish grievances are treated, 
not only by some educated Englishmen, but by men who, 
in virtue of their office, should be anxious to promote 


kindly feelings between Great Britain and Ireland, even 
should they not he bound by their position as members of 
Government to do acts of justice. 

One of the great outcries of the day is, that politics and 
religion should be treated as separate questions. We shall 
have a few words to say on this subject presently; but we 
presume no Christian man will deny the duty of practis- 
ing Christian charity in public life, or will deny that the 
circumstances of our birth were not under our own control. 
Mr Lowe might have been born a poor Claddagh fisher- 
man ; instead of holding the reins of government and 
receiving the freedom of boroughs, he might have been 
toiling along the wild Atlantic coast for a bare subsistence 
for wife and child. He might have been the victim of a 
God-sent famine, which left hearth and home utterly deso- 
late ; he might have lost his little all in that year of misery 
and anguish, which is perhaps the only Irish calamity 
which no man has ever dared to charge on the Irish them- 
selves. He might have been nn willing to beg: he might 
have had an honest pride, which kept him from the work- 
house ; he might have loved his home, wretched as it was, 
End his sea-girt island, poor as she is, too well to emigrate 
to the great Irish empire in the West, where an honest 
day's wage can be had for an honest day's labour. In his 
trouble he might have gone to his parish priest — the poor 
man's only friend — and prayed him, for God's great love, to 
help him to the means of getting an honest living, how- 



ever humble. The priest would have replied, " I cannot help 
yon ; the gentlemen who govern the country will not help 
you. The troubles of poor fellows like yourself used to be 
called sentimental grievances, there is another name for 
them now — they are called 'amusing grievances.' The 
Scotch fisheries are well protected by English gun-boats, 
and well assisted by the English Government; but you are 
only a poor Irish fisherman. You have at least a choice : 
emigrate, if you can get the money; if you cannot, go to 
the workhouse." 

The Claddagh fisherman would have asked the reason of 
this strange inhumanity ; and it would not have added to 
his affection for English government to be told that the 
gentleman who found Irish misery so amusing admitted 
that he did not exactly understand what had caused it ; 
tli at he believed the bad harvests had ruined the Irish 
fisheries; though, indeed, he did not think that could have 
been the reason ; that, in fact, he knew very little about it, 
though it certainly was his business to know ; and that all 
he seemed quite sure of was, that it was " aTnusing." 

The Claddagh fisherman, some few weeks after, might 
have seen — for Irishmen are all great readers — an old 
uewspaper, in which he would have found the following 
extract, taken from a speech made by a Cabinet Minister 
at Glasgow, when he received the freedom of the city ; 
a cursory perusal of it would at once explain tbe priest's 
meaning : — 



■ I will now enter on my Last topic. I have made it last, because 
it is a little more amusing than those that preceded it. It is that 
Ireland has another grievance. (Laughter.) That grievance is this 
— the fisheries of Ireland have very much declined. I cannot say 
exactly why, but it is perhaps the reason given in a committee of 
the House of Commons, that they had given up the fisheries because 
they were so much discouraged by bad harvests. (Great laughter.) 
I don't think that could have been the reason, but, whatever is the 
reason, they come and ask me to lend them money on personal 
security — (renewed laughter) — the security of the fishermen and 
that of the priests, to lend money for nets and boats to resume 
these fisheries. Well, I said to them I was not in the habit of 
lending money in that way, and so the matter came to an end, and 
they assured me that if they had home rule it would be done at 
once. (Applause.)" 

He would Lave observed that the gentleman concluded 
his speech with this quotation : — 

"Only the actions of the just 
Smell sweet and blossom in the dust." 

And it might have occurred to him that a quotation from 
an older writer than Shakespeare would have suited his 
side of the question better. Has it not been written — 

" The just showeth mercy, and shall give." 

Tins habit of meeting Irish complaints with contempt, 
was reprobated again and again by O'Connell, and yet it 
Btill continues. Even if the Irishmen was still an 
" enemy," it would be unmanly to ridicule his misfortunes, 
when those misfortunes are, at least to a considerable 


decree, the fault of his rulers. Such ridicule reflects most 

on him who uses it. 

It is indeed scarcely possible to take up any work, 
whether of fact or of fiction, in which Ireland is mentioned, 
without finding this 'spirit of ridicule; and sometimes its 
bitterness is more than a joke. At the present time an 
autobiography is dragging out its slow length in the pages 
of Eraser's Magazine, the sole object of which appears to 
be to throw contempt on Ireland and the Irish ; and the 
suggestion is made for the hundredth time, to try de- 
population, and rather to (i populate the land with Chinese 
and reaping-machines, with monkeys, or any other animal 
but the Celt." The plan of populating Ireland with beasts 
has been partly tried, and does not seem to have given as 
much satisfaction to the proposers as they expected. How 
a country could be populated with "reaping-machines," 
is an enigma we do not pretend to solve. The plan of 
extermination was tried on a very large scale, and with 
very great success, in the year of grace 1654 ; but the 
results were contrary to expectation. A work has been 
written by an Irish gentleman, in which he gives statistics 
of the grand transplantation scheme which was then tried. 
The accounts are taken from no doubtful source, they are 
compiled from State-papers. But the result was, that when 
English soldiers were transplanted to Ireland, they were 
not at all more disposed to submit quietly to injustice, 
than the " Irish enemy " whom they had displaced. 



A plantation of Chinese and reaping-machines would 
probably prove a failure a' so. 

But there is a yet deeper depth to which some English- 
men descend when they write or speak of Ireland. The 
pages of Fraser*8 Magazine are defiled by the suggestion 
to "abolish juries, burn the Habeas Corpus, audi erect a 
factory in the Lower Castle Yard for spinning halters and 
cat-o'-nine-tails." The suggestion may be intended as a 
joke ; we suspect it is so couched to hide an earnestness 
of which the writer has the grace, as yet, to be a little 
ashamed. But if gentlemen write such jokes, they must 
recollect that those to whom they would not give that name 
will write such things in earnest, and probably support 
their degradation of our common humanity by quoting 
higher authority. It is not long since a letter went 
the round of the provincial papers in England and 
Scotland, in which it was suggested, not that a cat-o'- 
nine-tails should be made, but that it should be used 
wherever an outrage was committed in Ireland, the parish 
priest to be the victim, because he was supposed to be 
cognisant of the offender through the confessional, and 
up willing to give him up to justice. Are we returning to 
the dark ages? The suggestion of deeds of blood and 
brutality is the first step towards their accomplishment 
when opportunity offers. 

But there is yet another class in England who do 
not suggest such measures for the pacification of Ireland 


cither in joke or in fact, but who seem, nevertheless, to 
consider that good advice is the one thing which Ireland 
requires, And this advice sometimes emanates precisely 
from those very persons who, for various reasons, are the 
very last individuals who should offer it. 

We take the opinions expressed by a recent article in the 
Contemporary Review as a sample. It may be said that 
cpinions expressed in reviews, magazines, and newspapers 
are but the expression of an individual mind; but this is 
very far from being the case. Those who write are persons 
who, either from circumstances or capability, express the 
opinions which others entertain. The greater number of 
people, both educated and uneducated, confine their read- 
ing to such books or serials as express their own senti- 
ments on religion or politics. Publishers and editors cater 
for the taste of their public. No doubt in many instances 
opinion is influenced by writers, but it is rarely formed by 

It might be supposed that Irish gentlemen were capable 
of taking care of their educational interests, and that if 
they required advice, they would scarcely seek it from a 
gentleman, however accomplished, who has changed his 
religion more than once. But as the advice has been 
given, we may consider it briefly as an expression of Eng- 
lish opinion on an important subject. 

From the day on which O'Connell obtained freedom of 
education for Irish gentlemen to the present hour, a certain 


party, and a large party, of English gentlemen have tried 
to fetter that freedom as far as it was possible for them to 
do so. In O'Conneli's private correspondence with Dr 
MacIIale, he reiterates his opinion that the education of 
Iri>h gentlemen should he contided to the clergy of their 
Church. If Irish gentlemen wish for such education, is it 
not a i:rave interference with the liberty of the subject to 
forbid it to them. 

In Mr Capes' article also, it may be remarked, in 
passing, that, while it is entirely free from the sarcastic 
spir it which disgraces so many English comments on Irish 
affairs, there is nevertheless a de haut en has tone — n 
quiet conscious superiority. It is taken for granted that 
the Irish gentleman belongs to an inferior race, and that 
" we," the people of England, are free to deny or grant, 
as in our wisdom we think fit, with but scant reference 
to the wishes of the inferior being. 

The Irish gentlemen is treated throughout as a person 
who should submit with thankfulness to the regulations 
made by the superior wisdom of his English master. The 
Irish [feasant is treated as part knave and part fool, ami 
as altogether iueapable of the exercise of even ordinary 

Of the hundreds who have read Mr Capes' article in the 
Contemporary Review, few indeed will have read his long 
and scholarly Preface to the " Life of St Frances of Rome," 
published in the year 1855. In the Preface he wrote dins 



of the Catholic clergy, at the conclusion of an exhaustive 

defence of miracles : — 

44 Whether the Catholic religion is true or false, it is beyond the 
limits of credibility that its ruling principle can be one of inten- 
tional deception. . . . The Catholic system must have fallen to 
pieces a hundred times over, if its chief ruler and his subordinates 
were mere tricksters, playing upon the credulity of a fanatical and 
besotted world." 

On the subject of miracles he argues forcibly; first, 
against the Protestant opinion that Catholics are fools, and 
then, against the Protestant opinion that Catholics are all 
knaves. " If," he says, " we are sincere in our faith, it is 
impossible to suppose us willing to be imposed on." Writ- 
ing of the lives of Saints, he says : — 

" Thus, too, I am myself engaged in a similar work, either laugh- 
ing in my sleeve at the credulity on which I practise, or submitting 
from sheer intellectual incompetence to be the tool of some wily 
Jesuit, who enjoins the unhallowed task." 

We leave Mr Capes to select either horn of the dilemma. 
Perhaps, he may appeal from Philip drunk to Philip sober; 
but under any circumstances he should refrain, in common 
consistency, from offering his advice to Irish gentlemen. 

When English gentlemen have quite decided what reli- 
gious belief they really consider true — when they have 
decided whether they will believe in one creed, in three 
creeds, or in none — then, but not until then, should they 
offer any suggestion, or interfere with Irish gentlemen in 
tL, ' oice of a religion, or of educational guides. 



The struggle is a hopeless one. It will be better to 
abandon it, and to have peace. Irishmen only ask 
for justice. They do not want more ; they will not be 
satisfied with less. All through his long and stormy life 
O'Conuell was breasting the waves of English injustice. 
The truth may be evaded, it may be denied ; but it is still 
truth. Day after day, week after week, year after year, 
he asked only for justice. It was granted, at least in a 
measure; yet, for all that, much more remains to be 
granted. If Englishmen would take pains to study Irish 
history, if they would make themselves acquainted with a 
life like O'Connell's, if they would calmly consider why 
he agitated, and for what he agitated, the future both of 
England and Ireland would be happier. 

But, in order to effect this desirable end, two things are 
necessary : first, that the student should divest himself, as 
far as possible, of insular prejudice; ar.d, secondly, that he 
should make himself acquainted with the facts of Irish 
history, not from the narrative^ of those who have dis- 
torted it to suit their own ends, but by weighing the state- 
ments of the oppressed as well as those of the oppressor. 

This view of the subject was ably treated in the North 
British Review for October 1869. It is well remarked 

" Those who are not resolved to be misled by a fragmentary 
literature, should diverge from the beaten path to seek its comple- 
ment, ro that whatever judgment they may form at last may be 
formed after they have heard both sides." 


The habit of forming conclusions from the evidence of 
one party only, above all when that party is the one 
complained of, is neither wine or philosophical. It has 
done more to deepen and widen the gulf of bitterness 
between England and Ireland, than all the suspensions of 
the Habeas Corpus, or all the promulgations of Insurrec- 
tion Acts. 

The Irish naturally suppose that educated Englishmen 
have been at some pains to understand their real condi- 
tion, and when they find the facts of that state denied oi 
ridiculed, they can only conclude that the denial or the 
ridicule has been the result of bitter prejudice, and an 
irradicable hatred. The lower class of Irish do not know, 
they would, perhaps, scarcely believe, that so many English 
gentlemen are so ignorant of the country to which they 
give so much good advice. 

We doubt if even English premiers take pains to know 
the condition of Ireland as it is. Mr Gladstone may read 
the Times for information; but the Times will not tell of 
landlord oppression or tenant wrong, unless some flagrant 
case comes before the public, which i.s forgotten almost 
as soon as it is read. He may read the Telegraph for 
sympathy; but a ministerial organ is not likely to trouble 
the ministerial conscience with reproof. He may read 
the Standard to learn Conservative opinion; he will find 
his Irish policy roughly handled, but he will know well 
that this is .done chiefly from political motives. 



What statesman ever troubles himself to read the Free- 
man's Journal, or the Telegraph, or the Irishman, or the 
Cork Examiner or Herald, or the Northern Star, or the 
people's papers in Deny and Galway and Waterford and 
Clonmel ? And descending lower in the social scale, the 
ignorance increases; the mass of middle class Englishmen 
know nothing of the state of Ireland, except through the 
grossest misrepresentation. What wonder, then, that the 
countries are '"united" only in name, and that the sever- 
ance of this union is demanded by those who are hopeless 
of being understood! 

We can here but draw attention to this subject., 
earnestly hoping that our efforts may not be in vain. 
There are thousands of honest, earnest, true-hearted 
English gentlemen, tradesmen, and mechanics, who would 
be as indignant as the Irish themselves if they could really 
understand the causes of Irish poverty, and consequently 
of Irish discontent. We have not space here to enter 
into details on this subject; but, as we have throughout 
this work given English opinion on Irish affairs, well 
knowing that Irish opinion would not be credited by 
gome of our readers, we give briefly now some English 
statements on the causes of Irish discontent. 

The Irish are taunted and reproached, I must say 
cruelly, with their poverty ; yet, until the passing of the 
recent Land Bill, they were not allowed even a chance of 
bettering their condition. They were to make bricks, they 



were cried out against as idle, yet never a straw were they 
allowed ; nay, if they even attempted to find straw it was - 
taken from them. 

Enough of Irish history is known in England to prove 
that the unhappy Irish peasant was not allowed to till the 
soil for himself, or even to practise any trade until the 
close of the last century. Every industrial resource was 
sternly forbidden ; how then could capital accumulate in 
the country? Sir John Davis said the state of the bond • 
slave was better than the state of the Irish peasant, " for 
the bond slave was fed by his lord, but here the lord was • 
fed by his bond slave." 

But it may be said, all this has passed away. We must 
not lay thi* flattering unction to our souls — no mistake 
could be more fatal — and yet no mistake is more frequent. 
English gentlemen, with the best intentions, will express 
themselves utterly disgusted with Ireland, and will fling 
aside all thought of doing her justice, because, as they say, . 
they have done so much, and she still complains. They 
have disestablished the Protestant Church in Ireland, but 
they cannot pardon us for saying that this disestablish- 
ment has not bettered the condition of the poor or middle 
classes one iota. Irishmen, too, cannot but know that 
that justice was done rather as a peace-offering at the 
shrine of public opinion than as special kindness to them,! 
We are far from wishing to hear of the disestablishment of 
the Protestant Church in England; but if it does not dis-; 


integrate itself from utter inability to cohere in almost 
every point of doctrine, those who note the signs of the 
times on the political horizon, are freely predicting its 
speedy dissolution by Act of Parliament. 

The recent Land Bill has done a certain, or, perhaps it 
would be more correct to say, an uncertain amount of good 
in Ireland. But how much more needs to be done, is best 
known to those who have personal acquaintance with the 
miserable state of the Irish peasantry. There are ab- 
sentee landlords, who own thousands of acres of Irish lan J, 
whose one sole object seems to be to get the most rent 
they can from their half-starving tenantry. They may 
speak well, they may write well, they may enter cordially 
into every philanthropic scheme, except such as touch their 
own interests. Yet these men are pointed out as model 
landlords, because they visit their estates once, perhaps, in 
two or three years, for two or three weeks, because, at the 
order of an agent, whom the unhappy tenant dare not 
disobey, costly rejoicings are made for the visit ; but the 
landlord does not hear, and the agent does not care for, 
the u curses, not loud but deep,'* which precede and accom- 
pan> the demonstration. 

Even if no other evil were done thereby, the with- 
drawal of thousands a year from the country, which is 
6pent in a distant land, is in itself a most grievous in- 
justice. It is a natural law, that if you take crops from 
land you must pay nature back with interest. Thia 


natural law holds good in political economy as much as in 
physical science. Men may not defy the divinely-im- 
posed conditions of nature, or if they do, they know the 
penalty ; but they do defy it when the penalty does not 
fall upon themselves. Again, the tiller of the land is the 
only trader who does not receive consideration in case of 
loss or failure. In some rare instances — and how rare they 
are Irish tenants best can tell — some consideration is 
made for bad weather and cattle plague, or other pro- 
vidential calamities; but, for the most part, there is no 
such consideration. The rent is demanded equally, be the 
crop more or less, and the unhappy tiller of the soil, who 
has already lived on almost famine fare, must only live on 

No country can prosper unless those who till the soil 
are permitted a sufficient remuneration for their labour, 
to enable them, in their turn, to encourage manufacturers. 
Chinese and reaping-machines might support absentee 
landlords in affluence, but they could not raise any country 
in the social scale. 

If English gentlemen can forget their manhood, and 
degrade their nationality, by attempting anything like a 
wholesale depopulation of Ireland, they 'would hear, not 
"Whisper in your ear, John Bull," but a thunder of in- 
dignation, which would soon break out into thunder of 
another kind. It is too late in the nineteenth century for 
such folly; and as the folly is impractical, it would be 



better for the self-respect of those who utter it if they 
would keep silence for the future. 

Taunts like Mr Lowe's, and insults such as have dis- 
graced the pages of more than one English magazine, do 
more to widen the breach between England and Ireland, 
do more to increase expressions of Irish discontent, do m ne 
to make rebels, than the speeches of the wildest Fenian, or 
the leaders of the Irishman or Nation. 

To honest Englishmen who wish to know the true state 
of Ireland, we say. Read the Irish local papers. You 
will find that even at the present day the most cruel and 
capricious evictions are takiug place ; arid you will lind 
th;it whole tracts of land are reclaimed by honest and 
industrious peasants, only to have their rents raised as a 
reward for their labour. You will find, as the able writer 
of the article on the Literature of the Laud Question in 
Ireland has said, " Opinions may vary as to points of policy 
suggested by the popular writers, and as to the gravity ard 
bearing of particular statements ; but it is clear that a 
thorough understanding of the Irish question cannot be 
obtained without a knowledge of the existence of this 
literature, and a careful study of it." In this article also 
the writer fuliy exposes the dealings of two agents, both 

If Irish evidence will be accepted, we would refer to the 
statements of the " Meath Tenant Defence Association,'* as 
published in the Drogheda Argus, and signed by the Very 



Uev. John Nicolls, P.P.V.G., and his curate, the llev. P, 
Kenny, C.C., publislied in the month of February 1872. 

By law, the Irish are free to choose and practise their 
own religion, yet there is an increasing attempt, on the 
part of English writers at least, to deprive them of that 
liberty. If it were possible to find any individual who 
could look at the whole question, and consider both sides, 
his judgment would surely be that, until English gentle, 
men claimed personal or Divine infallibility of belief, they 
should not interfere with the belief of others. If the 
Catholic is aggressive in his religion, he is at least con- 
sistent. He believes in the Divine origin of his Church, 
and therefore he obeys her commands, and does his best 
to induce those who are without the fold to enter into it. 
The Divine origin of the Catholic Church may be denied ; 
but granted a man believes in it, there is no inconsistency, 
logical or otherwise, in his acting on his belief. With the 
Protestant, whether he protests for a State Church or no 
Church, for three creeds or for none, the case is entirely 
different. Believing that all men are left to choose their 
religion, and not being able to deny that such choice leads 
to the selection of the most opposite forms of belief, he 
should, in common consistency, leave the Catholic to follow 
the dictates of his conscience, without even so much as 
verbal molestation. 

The strife between the world and the Church has never 
raged so fiercely as at the present day. It is the practice 



to speak as if politics and religion were two separate sub- 
jects, which should be kept carefully apart; and vet the 
two subjects always have been, and always will be, insepa- 
rably united while time shall last. Where there is simple 
misapprehension on the subject, it arises from not clearly 
understanding what politics really are. Where there is a 
particular bias, as in the case of those who are constantly 
declaiming against the interference of priests in politics, 
the case is different. 

Politics are taken simply to mean the rivalries of certain 
opposite parties for power. Even taking this lowest view, 
religion must enter into the question. In England we find 
Mr Gladstone taunted again and again with subservience 
to the Irish hierarchy on the Education question, for the 
purpose of keeping himself in power. The entire politics 
of the day in Germany turn on religious questions, 
and Bismarck, after expelling the Jesuits, is occupying 
himself with an attempt to get rid of the Catholic hierarchy. 
" We may wonder at the authority the Pope exercises, and 
we may regret it ; but there it is, a patent and incontest- 
able fact." 1 So patent and incontestable is this fact, 
indeed, that one might have supposed the world would 
have learned to submit quietly to it, if we did not know 
that an eternal enmity between the world and the Church 
has been predicted by the Eternal Truth. 

1 Standard, Oct. 1, 1872. 



If we take the word " politics " in the largest sense, wa 
shall see at once that we cannot separate politics from 
religion. Politics are part of the ethics of government; 
to govern implies not merely to make war or peace, but to 
rule and regulate all the internal constitution of a king- 
dom. How can such ruling be separated from religion? 
Statesmen must either govern the state under some kind 
of submission to a Supreme Power, or they must govern 
it as infidels. Human beings, considered in the aggregate, 
are the subject-matter of political science; when amongst, 
say, four millions of human beings, there are two or 
three different forms of religious belief, and when this 
religious belief is of a practical character, the politician 
cannot govern without special reference to it. 

If this subject were more carefully considered, more than 
half the matter which has appeared in print on the subject 
of the interference of the Catholic clergy in politics, would 
be treated as simply useless. If Englishmen do not know, 
they ought to know, that Catholics cannot separate politics 
from religion. There is a moral aspect in every political 
question the Catholic receives his moral teaching from 
his Church; it is then absurd to ask him to consider such 
questions apart from such teaching ; it is childish to 
bandy such names as "priest-ridden" and " Ultra- 

Protestants choose to call the Irish peasant priest-ridden, 
simply because they cannot understand the principle upon 



which the Irish peasant acts. Because he is consistent, 
because, believing a certain faith, he acts on his belief, lie 
is made an object of scorn, or at best, is looked upon as an 
incomprehensible being. So it is with those of the higher 
classes who are spoken of as being Ultramontane: they 
certainly do believe in the authority of the successor of Peter 
" over the mountains;*' it, is a fact, there is no use in 
quarrelling with it ; nor is there any wisdom in alleging 
any reason for it except the true one. 

It is useless to devote pages of a serial to combative 
articles on the Irish Roman Catholic laity, to talk of their 
being under the rule of an " arrogant and domineeriig 
priesthood" in one breath, and, in the next, to say that 
they " detest and dread" the priest, because he " flatters 
the prejudice of the peasantry." 2 All such writing is 
simply t lie result, of ignorance. 

There are indeed, unhappily, some few Irish Catholics 
who have lo3t the freshness of their faith, who are half 
ashamed of the religion which they are still afraid to 
forsake. Perhaps fifty such gentlemen might be found in 
all Ireland — we doubt if there are ten — but they generally 
come prominently forward; they are complimented hugely 
on their liberality and their spirit by their Protestant 
friends; and they are gratified by the compliment. They 
may proclaim their own opinions, but they have no right 

1 "The Irish Roman Catholic Laity."— Fraser's Magazine for October. 



to speak for others, or to give a false impression of their 


The subject of Education is not unlilrely to be a minis- 
terial crisis in the next session. If the Catholic nobility 
and gentry, the barristers and magistrates, of Ireland, 
were as anxious to have their children educated by Pro- 
testants as some persons suppose, they have every facility 
for obtaining such education for them. It is, therefore, 
idle to taunt them with moral cowardice because they 
follow their ecclesiastical superiors in obedience to their 
conscience ; rather should the taunt be levelled against 
those who, while still claiming the name of Catholic, have 
ceased to be Catholics in unity or in practice. It is 
worse than an insult to assert that the Catholic gentlemen 
of Ireland admire the "manly courage" and "fervid elo- 
quence " of Mr Justice Keogh at Gal way, and that they 
agree with him in denouncing " the tyranny of the bishops, 
the violence, dishonesty, and equivocation of the priests." 
We have yet to learn that it is "manly" to attack those 
who could not defend themselves, or that rant is " fervid 
eloquence." It might be supposed that thoee who write 
for the public would take at least some little pains to 
make themselves acquainted with public opinion, would be 
at some pains to make themselves acquainted with the 
previous history of those whom they commend, and with 
the sentiments of those whose true opinions they profess 
to know by some mysterious species of intuition. 



With regard to Mr Justice Keogh, he had undoubtedly a 
right to change his mind both on political and religious 
questions, but his English admirers have no ground for 
honouring him as a consistent defamer of the priesthood 
or eulogist of a certain class of landlords. The truth is, 
that the great majority of English writers are entirely 
ignorant of what is well known to every man, woman, and 
child in Ireland; or possibly, in some cases, they find it 
convenient to ignore what it does not suit their purpose to 
remember. We would ask the thousands of honest-hearted 
Englishmen who have taken the judicial harangue of Mr 
Justice Keogh for gospel to read a history of his career, 
published and circulated from one end of Ireland to the 

In the year 1851 this gentleman published a pamphkt, 
in which he revised a speech of his own, made at the 
Athlone Banquet, and from this speech, as published by 
himself, we give the following extract : — 

" I see here the venerated prelates of my Church — first among 
them, 1 the observed of all observers,' the illustrious Archbishop of 
Tuam, who, like that lofty tower which rises upon the banks of the 
yellow Tiber, the pride and protection of the city, is at once tlie 
glory and the guardian, the decus et tutamen of the Catholic religion, 
joining with the tried and faithful representatives of the people, 
who, after each in his own locality receiving the approbation of hia 
constituents, have done me the great honour of attending this 
banquet, to testify that I too was one, even though the humblest 
of that number, who, in a time of great trial, were found true Uj 
their country, their honour, and their God." 



In the same speech lie denounced the landlords of Ireland 
as a " heartless aristocracy," as " the most heartless, the 
most thriftless, the most indefensible landocracy on the 
face of the earth," and as men who have made Ireland "a 
Howling wilderness." 

It is conveniently forgotten, too, that Mr Justice Keogh 
n i rule a famous declaration — in which he invoked the name of 
God in the most solemn manner again and again — to con- 
vince the Irish people of his sincerity to the national cause, 
a sincerity of which some keen-sighted gentlemen had their 
doubts. It is forgotten also, that on the 2d of April 1853, 
he spoke of the Catholic bishops and clergy as his " revered 

But there is a yet more startling phase in the career 
of this gentleman whom so manv English writers are de- 
lighted to honour. If they praise his Gal way utterances 
as " manly" and "fervid," they must surely give the same 
praise to his speech at Athlone, where, according to the 
statement of the Lord-Lieutenant of the day, he distinctly 
recommended assassination. The subject was brought 
before the House of Lords on the 10th of June 1853, by 
Lord Westmeath. He said: — 

"Mr Keogh, standing on the right hand of that cand'date (Cap- 
tain Magan), spoke to the audience, the mob, in broad day, in the 
streets, the words which he should presently read for their lordshipa 
— words which had been heard by three magistrates of the county, 
and which they were ready to corroborate on oath. At a place 
called Moate, from Magan's committee-room, Mr Keogh said :— • 



* Boys, the days are now long and the nights are short. In autumn 
the days will he getting shorter and the nights longer. In winter (or 
November) the niykU will be very long, and then let every one remem- 
ber who voted for Sir H, Levinge.' It was rumoured that vacancies 
were about to occur on the Irish Bench, and that MrKeogh was not 
unlikely to succeed to one. Though it might he alleged that Mr 
Keogh was not Solicitor-General when he made the speech to which 
he (the Marquis of Westmeath) referred, he wished to know whether 
any person who would attempt to advance any purpose, whether 
-political or social, by such means, was Jit to be pi act d on t/ie /risk 
Bench 1 * 

Lord Derby said : — 

" The noble Earl (Aberdeen) says he knows nothing about that 
election speech, and, of course, I am bound to believe him ; but it 
appears to me to show a great ignorance — I do not mean the word 
offensively — but, at any rate, a great absence of knowledge in the 
noble Earl not to hare known that, at the time when MrKeogh was 
made Solicitor-General, he was accused of having made that speech. 
The county of Westmeath is one in which Mr Keogh has not a foot 
of land. He was acting there as a leader or partisan of what is 
called the Liberal interest in Ireland — liberal enough in some 
respects, but illiberal in others — and in that capacity, having been a 
member of the former parliament and a candidate for a seat in the 
next, and intending to make his support valuable to the Govern- 
ment, he is reported to have warned the people that the nights were 
then short mid the days long, that the time teas coining when the nights 
would be long and the days short, and that that would be the time at which 
any person who might vole for Sir 11. Levinge for Westmeatli ought, 
to look out for what might follow. And, if I am not much mistaken, 
there was a recommendation that the people of that county should 
collect together and go into the town of Athlone, for which he was 
himself a candidate, armed with shillelaghs, and take care to use 
them when they got there. This may have been totally incorrect ; 
but if this, or anything like it, was said by Mr Keogh so openly and 


publicly tliat it was a matter of general notoriety, I say it di* 

qualified that honourable and learned gentleman from being put into 
any situation in any government in which, in the slightest degree, he 
might be called on to support, or nominally to support, the adminis- 
tration of the law" 

Mr Keogh denied the charge, but the Protestant rector 
of Moate, the Rev. Mr Hopkins, wrote to Lord Westmeath 
to maintain that he had used the words, and his testimony 
was supported by the solemn assurance of several magis- 
trates, and of two members of the Society of Friends. How 
Mr Justice Keogh would have dealt with such testimony — 
had it been offered in the Gal way trial, we all know; with 
what withering scorn, with what scathing denunciation, 
with what " fervid eloquence," would he not have borne 
down upon the unhappy priest who might have allowed 
such words to escape his lips? His fine sense of justice 
would have been horrified, his power of denunciation would 
have been exhausted; with that exceptional refinement and 
delicacy which characterises his judicial utterances, he 
would have imitated the tone and the manner of clerk or 
laic who had dared to commit such an outrage on the 
honoured aristocracy of the land. He would have forgotten 
in his just indignation to criticise the grammar of his 
victim, to give historical lectures, or to comment on hia 
rhetoric. His grand thirst for justice would have con- 
trolled all the petty pride which might tempt him to the little 
vanity of a display of superior education and knowledge ; 
the victim would have been held up to the scorn of the 



Uo'tcd Kingdom, would have been indicted without a 
da\'s delay for seditious utterances. 

Mr Keogh'a apology for his observations at Moate were 
conveyed in the form of a letter to the Duke of Newcastle, 
in which he said — 

" It did not occupy five minutes, find I was not reported so as to 
enable me to refer to it. I have no recollection whatever of using 
any language even similar to that attributed tome; but my memory 
may fail me as to the precise words used in the heat and excitement 
of election occurrences, and I trust, therefore, rather to the evidence 
of friends who were present, and the inherent improbability of my 
expressing sentiments which I never entertained rather than to my 
own recollection." 

The Dublin Evening Mail, *Jd June 1853, an Orange organ, 
observed that " the seditious speech was no longer denied, 
but it was only a little one." Lord Eglinton read for the 
House a letter from Arthur Brown, Esq., J.P., in which he 

M I wish (as the magistrate who took the declaration of James 
Burke), to satisfy you that every word in that declaration is true, 
and that at least twenty gentlemen of independence and station 
(among them the rector of Moate, the Rev. Mr Hopkins), are ready 
and willing to support the truth of that deposition by their evidence 
or. oath. The gentlemen in question were present on the occasion, 
heard the words so delivered, and there can be no more doubt of 
their utterance than of any other truth which cannot be disputed." 

W~e do not desire to pursue the unwelcome theme 
further. Our one object is gained if we can induce those 
English gentlemen who shall read this work to ask them- 



selves why Irish Catholics of all classes, not only in Ire- 
land, but throughout the world, are justly indignant at the 
Gal way judgment, and, what is, if possible, of far greater 
importance, why Ireland is not prosperous with English rule. 
It is frequently believed that " things have changed since 
O'ConnelPs time," that "the Irish are a discontented race 
whom nothing can satisfy," that " their grievances are 
sentimental." Certainly during O'Connell's long and 
noble career he obtained much justice for Ireland, certainly 
much has been done lately; but while much yet remains to 
be done, it is neither right for English honour, nor safe for 
English prosperity, to refuse all that Ireland needs in order 
to be prosperous and content. 

The Irish peasantry are not in a prosperous condition; 
and while the Irish hear their clergy ridiculed, and their 
conduct basely maligned and misrepresented, with the full 
approbation of the great majority of English writers, there 
can scarcely be peace between the two countries. 

At a meeting of the clergy of the diocese of Galway, the 
following solemn protest was put on record : — 

" We deem it our duty to record our solemn protest, not 0!ily 
against the judgment itself, but, for the information of the public 
and the Imperial Parliament, who had no opportunity of witnessing 
the strange scene, against the gross impropriety of manner attend- 
ing its delivery, which we k?ve no hesitation in describing as a 
desecration of the sanctuary of justice, shocking to the feelings ol 
every impartial listener. We leave the public to judge of this, 
whom, from personal observation, we assure, that the delivery of 


xxxv ii 

the judgment, which occupied nearly eight hours, was but a con- 
tinued paroxysm of rage, seemingly ungovernable — one uninter- 
rupted scene of roaring, screaming, foaming, violent striking of the 
desk with clenched fist, occasional walking backward and forward, 
with wig flung aside, mimicry of adverse witnesses, fulsome adula- 
tion of landlords and gentry, of which no printed report could give 
any idea whatever." 

So long as there shall be any distinction between the 
administration of justice in England and in Ireland, so 
long will the two countries remain disunited. So long as 
English public opinion of Ireland is governed by prejudice, 
there can be little confidence. Let Englishmen show them- 
selves ready not only to do justice, but to speak justice. 

We cannot conclude this preface without acknowledging 
our obligations to those gentlemen who have placed valu- 
able documents, private papers, and letters at our disposal 
for the present work. To his Grace the Archbishop of 
Tuam we are especially indebted for the use of his long 
private correspondence with the Liberator, and for the 
copies of the few of his own letters to O'Connell which 
he has preserved. His Grace had intended to publish 
this correspondence himself ; but, with his usual disin- 
terested generosity, he transferred it to the present writer 
on hearing that she was about to publish this work. We 
are indebted also to the Most Rev. Dr Purcell, Arch- 
bishop of Cincinnati, for some documents on the sub- 
ject of shivery, which, with some other papers, are reserved 
for another work. We owe him thanks, too, for his words 



of encouragement and for help, which has not limited 

itself to words. 3 

We have to thank P. J. Fitzpatrick, Esq., J. P., for the 
use of a valuable collection of old newspapers, and for 
advanced sheets of his forthcoming work, " The Life of Dr 
Lanigan," the well-known Irish ecclesiastical historian, and 
the consistent and ardent opposer of the Yeto. 

To Maurice Lenihan, Esq., J. P., Limerick, we are obliged 
for a very valuable collection of private papers, of which 
we hope to make more use in another work, and for the 
original of tue King of Bavaria's letter to O'Connell. To 
Isaac Butt, Esq., M.P., we are indebted for the appendix 
to Chapter XV., and for his interest in our work. To Sir 
John Gray, M.P., we are obliged for the narratives of his 

3 A sample of the contradictory charges made against Catholics occurred 
lately in America. The Catholic clergy had been again and again 
taunted with indifference to literature ; nuns had been represented again 
and again as either half imbecile, or wasting their lives in useless and 
frivolous employments, unless they happen to make their work public as 
Sisters of Mercy. Yet there are few Orders in the Church in which the 
religious are not engaged actively and unceasingly in the great and 
noble work of education ; and even the most highly educated of these 
religious must continue to study both history and science, in order to 
impart the knowledge of both, as well as the lighter accomplishments 
which her pupils require, to fit them for their places in society. The 
charge of intellectual inactivity is about the most groundless which 
ignorance has made, and which prejudice persists in keeping up. 

Every nun who teaches the higher classes must teach history, and must 
write notes for her classes on history, if she wishes to teach it thoroughly. 
Nor can she teach logic without explaining politics ; and though the 
angry discussions of the politics of the day cannot be heard in the 



prison life, and to Lady Gray for assisting in procuring 
them. To P. J. 0' Carroll, Esq., we are indebted for news- 
papers relating to O'Connell's trial; and we are especially 
indebted to J. Leyne, Esq., of the Registration Office, 
Dnblin, for the O'Connell pedigree at the end of the work, 
and for the notes appended thereto. 

Our special thanks are also due to Mitchell Henry, Esq., 
M.P., for a copy of his speech in the House of Commons 
on the 25th of July 1872. Each part of the judicial 
harangue is carefully examined therein, and triumphantly 
refuttd. This speech is all the more remarkable, as it 
comes to us from a Protestant gentleman. Those who 
6trive to persuade themselves and others that Catholic 

conventual class-room, the whole subject of politics, in their highest 
and truest MOM, must be explained. 

Even at the risk of making this note very much longer than io was 
intended to be when commenced, we would call attention to the discussion 
going on at present in the English school boards, where it is found that 
hi>torv cannot be taught apart from religion. Not long since Mr Arnold 
■aid lie would not send Protestant children to a Catholic school. The 
ichool board solicitor replied that the religious instruction ceased at half- 
past nine in the morning ; but Mr Arnold answered that the elements 
of religious education were sometimes taught in other forms. The reports 
of the English Poor School Committee speak expressly on the matter ; 
and Canon Oakley, in his discussions on this subject in the Catholic 
papers, states that a " distinguished Protestant Government inspector " 
eays that it may be necessary hereafter to proscribe history during the 
period of secular instruction. A little common sense, indeed, would 
show that it is almost impossible to teach any subject except pure mathe- 
matics, without giving at least a bias to the pupil's mind on religioui 
quest iui\s. 


gentlemen secretly admire the denouncer of their religion, 
niid the reviler of their clergy, would do well to recollect 
that (here are many Protestant gentlemen who have had 
the courage and justice to express their disgust for such a 
degradation of the hench in Ireland. Mr Henry, being a 
large landed proprietor, was selected for special compli- 
ments, an honour which he scorned as it deserved. But Mr 
Henry's relatives, though they had no connection whatever 
with Galway, or the Galway judgment, were selected for 
eminent; and as his brother happened to be a priest 
and a convert, the judge, to enhance his rhetoric, and we 
mus + suppose to pander to the class in England to whom 
he knew the judgment would be acceptable, gave him the 
title of Jesuit. 

As we fear that many, to whom it would be of most ser- 
vice, may not see Mr Henry's able pamphlet, we give the 
following extracts, as an evidence of Protestant opinion on 
the subject, from an able and educated man : — 

" Yes, Mr Speaker, I charge Judge Keogh with deliberately out 
raging the religious feelings of a religious people ; and there is no 
one passage in his harangue which has given so much offence, and 
occasioned so much consternation, as his sneers at the efficacy of 

" Go among the peasantry cf Ireland, and your greeting, from the 
bottom of their hearts, is ' God save you visit them in their sick- 
ness and sorrow, when their crops have failed and hard hunger 
knocks at their door, and their commentary is, ' God is good.' Do 
tliein a service, and the highest reward they can promise you — not 
in meaningless words, but out of the sincerity of their religioua 



nature — as I have heard a thousand times, is, 'We will pray for 
you;' for this people of the West pray not with their lips only — 
they believe in prayer; they believe that they have a Friend in 
Heaven, who will at last redress their wrongs and vindicate Himself 
to them. And yet, sir, before such a people, Judge Keogh, from the 
judgment-seat, and clothed in the official ermine, retails a stale and 
ribald jest, and fathers it withal on a priest, to show that it is no 
use their praying for rain unless the wind changes. 

" It is almost incredible. When he calls a Gal way priest 'this 
insane disgrace to the Roman Catholic religion,' I cannot help ask- 
ing what religion he owns himself, and whether he disgraces it or 
not, and whether he is sane?" 

We have mentioned elsewhere the obligations to the 
Rev. John O'Hanlon, C.C., for the record of O'ConnelTs 
last days, which will be found at page 75G, and to the 
Rev. M. Close for a verbatim copy ">f this interesting 
document. To Mr Close I am indebted for much help in 
my literary labours, given with so prompt courtesy, which 
enhances their value. 

We may also observe, for the national credit, that we 
have found the proprietors of Webb's Library, in Dublin, 
most obliging in supplying works of reference. We can 
confidently recommend this library to students. It was 
first brought to our notice by several Catholic clergymen. 
The proprietors are, we believe, Protestants — another evi- 
dence, were it needed, that the Catholic clergy are readers 
of a high class of literature, and that party prejudice is 
confined now, as it was in the time of O'Connell, to a class 
whom nothing will satisfy except Orange ascendancy, and 



liberty to tyrannise over all who differ from them la 
politics or religion. 


family — birth — boyhood. 1 7 74-1 790. 
IMitical Situation at the time of O'Connell's Birth— His Pedi- 
gree — Paul Jones — Smuggling in Kerry — English Op- 
pression— O'Conneli's Affection for his Mother, and Pride 
of Family — Darrynane Abbey — The Clan O'Connell — 
O'Connell's Early Aptitude for Letters — His First School- 
master — The Crelaghs — Father O'Grady — At School in 
Cork — Education in France — Early Hatred of England — 
Reign of Terror — Louis XVIII. and the Old Irish Brigade 
— General Daniel Count O'Connell, 



The French Revolution and the Irish Rebellion Compared — 
Louis XIV. and George III. — English Opinions on Irish 
Policy — Louis XVI — The Two Shearca — St Omers — 
O'Connell and the Priesthood — His Opinions of the French 
Revolution — Interview with Robert Owen — At Lincoln's 
Inn — Origin of Constitutionalism — Catholic Church Con- 
servative — The English and Irish Catholics Contrasted— 
Early Toryism — Hardy's Trial — Home Tooke — '1 he 
Georges and the Stuarts — Rise of Democracy — American 
War — Benjamin Franklin — The Irish in America, . 61-100 



Political Troubles in England — Attack on the King — Fondness 
for Field Sports — Fever — First Visit to Dublin — English 
Policy with Ireland — Forced Attempt at Legislative Jus- 



tice— Causes and Character of the Irish Rebellion— v± ** 
G rattan — Lord Charlemont— Ireland in Arms — Alarm m 
England— Wants of Ireland— Mr Fox— Repeal of Act VI. 
Geo. I. — Causes of the Ruin of Irish Independence — Eng- 
lish Bribery — G rattan's Letter, . • • . 103-156 



The Northern Whig Club— The United Irishmen Club— Catho- 
lic Address to the King — Political Commotions — Treachery 
of Pitt — Lord Fitzwilliam, the Catholic Question, and the 
Bcrcsfords— Maynooth Established — The Orange Society- 
Catholic Clergy — Overzeal of O'Connell — Arrests— List of 
Suspected Persons — Lord Cornwallis' Administration — 
The Cromwell Policy — State of the Peasantry — Testimony 
of Mary Leadbetter, . 159-194 



First Circuit— At the Bar — Jerry Keller — Bar Stories— Promise 
of Success — Clear Ideas of Fox — The Irish Parliament — - 
The Union— Policy of Pitt — Bribery — The Priests- 
Concussion in Voting — Letter of Mr Luke Fox — The Bar 
ami the Union. — " The Anti-Union " — First Speech — Anti- 
Union Resolutions — Personal Appearance — Grattan and 
Pitt— Personal danger, . 197-254 



On Circuit — In Court — Bar Anecdotes — Marriage — On Guard 
— Fresh Risings and Revenges — Catholic Church — Catho- 
lic Priests and Protestant Clergy — Maynooth — The Veto 
• — Pole — Wellesley — Castlereagh — Plain Speaking — Love 
of Justice — Resolution to Petition — Effects of the Union 
— Demand for its Repeal— Speech— Petition— The Hier- 
archy — The Protestant Bishop of Meath— The Edinburgh 
Review— Cobbett— Lift into Popularity, . . 257-313 




Orange Outrages -Religious Persecution — Intolerance in the 
Army — Adventures on Circuit — Another Affair of Honour 
— Professional Successes — Speech at Limerick — Happy 
Allusions— Address from Dingle and Reply — Catholics 
Entertaining Protestants at the Festive Board — The 
Government aim the Catholic Association — Mr Wellesley 
Pole — Addressing the Prince of Wales — Speeches on the 
Address and Conduct of Pole — Mr Perceval — Political 
Dissension among Catholics — Right of Assembly — Arrest 
of Lord Fingal — Shelley— English Injustice — Father Dan 
— At Limerick and Cork, .... 317-353 



English Administration of Irish Affairs — Party Rule — No- 
Popery Cry— Assassination of Mr Perceval— The Prince of 
"Wales — The Witchery Resolutions — Speech — The Orange 
Faction — The Landlords and the Tenantry — Ellective 
Speech — Denunciation of Orangeism — A National Deht — 
Style of Speech — At his Zenith — As a Raconteur— Anec- 
dotes of Jerry Keller and Lord Clare — Parson Hawkes- 
worth — Administration of Justice — The Dublin Evening 
Po>t— At Home— Letter to Landor — Trial of John Magee 
— The Prosecution and Prosecutor — The Reply, . 357-419 



The English Catholics— The Duke of Norfolk and Dr Milner 
— Castle Browne and the Jesuits — Peel and Dr Kenny — 
Public Honours — Duelling and Duellists — The Irish 
Catholic Aristocracy — D'Esterre, his Challenge and Fatal 
Duel — Agrarian Outrages — Rev. John Hamilton, his Plots 
and Tools — Affair of Honour with Peel — Peel's Gift to 
Ireland, ....... 423- 450 





Panegyric on Grattan — Outrage at Kilmainham — Harcourt *»« 
Lees— " Pastoral Letter" for 1821— First Appearance of 
Sliiel— Mr Plunket— Analysis of Mr Plunket's Bills- 
Spiritual Functions and Freedom of the Clergy — Pro- 
testant Bigotry— George IV. and Queen Caroline— Royal 
Visit to Ireland — Loyal Reception at Dublin — The Irish 
People — Presentation of O'Connell at Court — Irony of 
Lord Byron — Wellesley and his Irish Policy — Orange 
Orgies— The Beefsteak Club interfered with, and its 
Revenge — Wellesley and the Orangemen— A Catholic 
Triumph, ...... 453-482 




Flood and Connar — Cross-examination of Flood — Plunket and 
Hart— Formation of Catholic Association — Priests and 
People brought into Action — First Meeting — The Inexor- 
able Purcell — The Penny-a-month Scheme for Liberating 
Ireland — Grand Aggregate Meeting — The Conversion 
Mania — The Pope and Maguire Controversy — Abortive 
Prosecution of O'Connell— The Duke of York's " So-heip- 
me-God" Speech — The King's Speech and the Association 
— Lords Liverpool and Brougham — O'Connell in London 
— Lords Palmerston and Eldon — The Ladies — O'Conn ell's 
Popularity — Aims of the Association — Another Challenge 
— Shiel — Canning, ...... 485-5 14 



Commencement of Correspondence with Dr MacHale— Priestly 
Co-operation— A New Era— Sketch of Dr MacHale's Life 
—Sketch of Dr Doyle's Life— His " Vindication of Catho- 



lies" — Dr Doyle and the Lords' Committee — Honest Jack paoh 

Lawless — Henry G rattan — Mr 0' Gorman Mahon — Scene 

in the " House"— Steele— Mr Barrett— Mr Ray, . . 517-534 


KING DAN. 1825-1829. 

Eng and's Answer to Ireland's Cry for Justice— Decline since 
the Days of Henry VIII. — Ireland a Necessity for Eng- 
land — A Catholic Triumph — Address to the Catholics of 
Clare — Excitement and Agitation — Consternation in Eng- 
land—Monster Meeting at Ennis— Scene at the Hustings, 
the Sheriff' and O'Gornian Malum— The Voting Day — Mr 
Vandaleur and his Tenants — Return of O'Connell — Speech 
of Shiel — The Chairing — Excitement in England — The 
Bishops and Priests — Official Irritation— King Dan — The 
Leicester Declaration— Letter of Wellington — The Eman- 
cipation Bill Passed — O'Connell's Right to a Seat Disputed 
— At the Bar of the House — Re-Election — Smith O'Brien 
— Enthusiasm, ...... 537-578 



Die Watexfold Election — Montalembert and O'Connell — Let- 
ters tc the People of Ireland— Lord Leveson Gower — Pal- 
mention and Wellington — History and Politics — The 
Emancipation Act not Followed by the Millennium — 
Exasperation of the Orangemen and Distress among the 
Peasantry— Temporary Arrest of O'Connell — Letter to Dr 
Macllale — Anti-Tithe Riots— In Parliament — Lord Al- 
thorpe and Shiel — O'Connell's Motion for Repeal — 
Cathedials — Letter — Melbourne and O'Connell — Disraeli 
and the O'Connells — Letter — Lyndhurst's Attack on the 
Irish — Banquets — Speech of Dr Machale — Letter— O'Con- 
nell undertakes a Retreat — Reception at the Abbey — 
Letters — Entertained in London — Defies the House — 
Letters, ....... 581-606 





The. Repeal Movement Projected— Correspondence, explaining 
Ideas and Plans, with Dr MacHale— Repeal Association 
Formed —Discouraging Start— Repeal Meetings in the 
Sou tli and North— General Election. O'Connell Unseated 
—Elected Lord Mayor of Dublin— Attacked by Shrews- 
bury—The Repeal Year, par excellence — The Association, 
Terms of Membership and Card — Peel and Repeal — Mon- 
ster Meetings at Ennis and Mullaghmast — European 
Fame— O'Connell and the Society of Friends— Letters to 
Dr Machale, 669-702 



Clontarf — Excitement in Dublin — Indictment of O'Connell — 
Sensation— Forebodings — Address to the people — Con- 
dolences — Joseph Sturge — The Trial — Notices of the 
Judges, the Traversers, and the Counsel in the Case — 
Charge of the Chief-Justice — The Verdict — O'Connell in 
the House- Excitement over the Country — The Sentence 
— Incarceration — First Day of Imprisonment — Respect 
Shown the Prisoners — Dinner Parties and Bon-Mots — 
McCarthy's Poem — Gives and Refuses Audiences — 
Reversal of Judgment and Liberation — Ovation — Home- 
Shadows — The Young Icelanders — Rescript from Rome — 
The Famine — Bids Farewell to Ireland — Hopes to Die at 
Rome— Diary of his Servant — Montalembert's Condolence 
— Last Hours — Death in Peace— The Faithful round the 
Bier— Funeral Obsequies and Eloge — " The Dead Tri- 
bune" . 705-774 

Appendix, 775 



Cjjaptcr Jfirst 




HE events which made t!ie 
close of the eighteenth cen- 
tury renowned, cannot be 
thoroughly understood with- 
out something more than a 
glance at what was then the 
past, as well as what is to us also the past. 
Europe and America, the New World and the 
Old, were both convulsed and revolutionised. 
One part, at least, of the British Empire was 
also convulsed, and it was also revolutionised. 
The convulsion was indeed caused by that revolt 
against injustice, which must come sooner or 
later both to the peoples and the individuals 



who are guilty of injustice. This revolution was termed a 
rebellion, because the cries of those who initiated it were 
stifled in blood and death. 

History repeats itself. It may be useful to remember 
this at a time when there is a probability of another re- 
volution, none the less dangerous to public safety, because 
it lias its inception in a demand for personal liberty, — 
not indeed the personal liberty of individual freedom to do 
justice, but the personal liberty to prevent the doing of 
justice by others. 

The American revolution was settled by law ; the French 
revolution was quelled by the power of one man. America 
obtained the freedom which every state must have if it is 
to bear its part creditably in the political world. France 
was delivered from the despotism of many by the power of 
one; hence when the personal influence of the individual 
ceased, the multitude were left to seek other guides, with 
what result we all know. It might be king, or it might 
be kaiser, who influenced the impetuous Gaul ; as long as 
the influence lasted all was well, or appeared well; the 
influence once withdrawn, and the hero dethroned, for 
any reason, or for none, the country is again a prey to 

In Great Britain there was sufficient law to steer tlm 
bark of government over the torrents of revolution, but, 
unfortunately, there was not always sufficient justice. The 
law may be good, but if it is not arl ministered justly, the 



results are scarcely less fatal than if there had been no law 
to administer. 

In England, law required justice to he done to the poor, 
■peaking broadly ; but practically the law was not always 
administered justly, and had not private individuals been 
Car mor? generous in practice than in theory, the peasants 
of Great Britain would have given trouble to their masters, 
and something more than trouble. 

In Ireland, the laws, as made by Great Britain, and 
enforced by Great Britain, were not just; and in Ireland 
there was more than trouble. 

From time to time the people rose up as they could 
against public injustice, against public oppression, but 
might was for the time stronger than right, and the Irish 
Celt was too often a victim at the shrine of an unmanly 
revenge. Still something was gained even by these dis- 
astrous attempts. 1 There were men in Ireland, and there are 
men in Ireland, who think little of the personal sacrifice 
of liberty or life, if they may but gain some increase of 
liberty, some happier condition of life for those who shall 
come after them. 

It remained for O'Connell to show that attention could 

1 I have confined myself almost exclusively to English authorities for 
proof of every statement made in this work with regard to the condition 
of Ireland. In a letter from Edward F orlie s, Esq , to William Wickhara, 
Esq., dated Dublin Castle, July 28, 1798, he says, " The universality of 
conspiracy, the frequent debates and the consequent trials keep up 
irritation. Our military is also disorderly, and our yeomen resentful. 



be attracted to Irish affairs by public agitation, and that, 
when attention was once given to them, some at least 
would see the necessity for a government of that country 
which should not excite rebellion by the enforcement of 
unjust laws, or perpetuate it by cruelty in the punishment 
of revolts excited by those laws. 

O'Connell was born at Carhen, near Cahirciveen, on the 
G tli of August 1775. 

The O'Conails, or O'Connells, were formerly possessed of 
the lordship of Magh-O-G-oinin, now Magonihy, in Kerry. 
The chiefs of the sept were transported to Clare during the 
usurpation of Oliver Cromwell. 

Hugh O'Connell, of the race of Fiacha-Finghine, son of 
Darie-Cearb, married Margaret, the daughter of Moenmoy 
O'Brien, prince of Thomond. His son — 

Geoffry O'Connell married Catherine, daughter of 
O'Connor Kerry. His sons — 

Donal, who married Honoria, the daughter of 0' Sullivan 
Bere ; 

Hugh, who was knighted by Sir Richard Nugent, lord- 

. . . . We get rid of seventy prisoners, many of the most important 
of whom we could not try, and who could not be disposed of without 
doing such a violence to the principles of law and evidence as could not 
be well justified. Our zealots and yeomen do not relish this compro- 
mise, and there has been a fine buzz on the subject, but it being known 
the Chancellor most highly approves of it, the tone softens." — Corn* 
wullis' Corres2)Q)idence, vol. ii. p. 378. 



deputy of Ireland, with whom he was a great favourite. 
This chieftain married Mary, base-daughter of Donal Mac- 
Carthv Mof, whose son — 

Maurice declared for Perkin Warbeck, but obtained 
the pardon of Henry VII., through the influence of Mac- 
Carthy Mor, on the 24th of August 1496. He married 
Juliana, the daughter of Rory O'Sullivan Mor. His 
son — 

Morgan married Elizabeth, the daughter of O'Donovan, 
the chief of Clan-Cathail, in Carbery. His son — 

Aodh or Hugh married Mora, the daughter of Sir Tadg 
O'Brien, of Baille-na-Carriga, in the county of Clare. His 
son — 

Morgan, called of Ballvcarbery, high-sheriff of the county 
of Kerry, married Helena, daughter of Donal MacCarthy. 
His son — 

Richard assisted the Elizabethan generals against the 
great Geraldine, surrendered his estates, and obtained a 
re-grant thereof through the influence of the lord-deputy. 
He married Johanna, the daughter of Ceallaghan Mac- 
Carthy, proprietor of Carrignamult, in the county of Cork. 
His son — 

Maurice was high sheriff of Kerry, and married Margaret, 
the daughter of Conchobhar, or Connor, O'Callaghan. His 
Bon — 

Bartholomew married Honoria MacCrohan's daughter. 
His son — 



Geoffrey married Miss Barret, of county Cork. His 
son — 

Daniel, of Aghagabhar, married Alice, the daughter of 
Christopher Segrave, Esq., of Cabra, in the county of 
Dublin. His son — 

John, called of Aghagower and Darrynane, married 
Elizabeth, the daughter of Christopher Conway, Esq., of 
Clachane, or Cloghane, in the county of Kerry. His 
son — 

Daniel married Mary, the daughter of Dubh O'Donoghue, 
of Anwyss, in the county of Kerry. His son- 
Morgan, of Cahirciveen, in the barony of Iveragh, 
married Catherine, the daughter of John O'Mullane, Esq., 
of Whitechurch, by whom he had ten children, who lived 
to the age of maturity; viz. y four sons and six daughters. 
The sons were: first, Daniel, the subject of this sketch; 
second, Maurice, an officer in the British service, who died 
at St Domingo, in 1796; third, John O'Connell; and 
fourth, James O'Connell, now Sir James, Bart., of Lake- 
view. The daughters were : first, Mary, who married 
Jeremiah M'Carthy, Esq. of Woodview, County Cork; 
second, Honora, the wife of Daniel O'Sullivan, Esq., of 
Beendonegan, in that county ; third, Ellen, who married 
Daniel O'Connell, Esq., solicitor-at-law ; fourth, Bridget, 
who married Myles M'Sweeny, Esq., late of Drounqumney ; 
fifth, Catherine, who married Humphry Moynihan, Esq., 
of Freemount, both in the county Kerry ; and sixth, 



Alice, who married William Francis Finn, E>q., of Tally- 
roan, in the county Kilkenny, for many years M.P. for that 

" Daniel O'Connell, who married Morna Dniv, 2 and 
died in the year 1774, left his estate of Darrynane to his 
eldest son, Maurice O'Connell. and he having no family, 
adopted Daniel CTConnell [the Liberator] and his brother 
"Maurice. John O'Connell, the Liberator's son, in a sketch 

- Moma Dniv, nrBla:k Mary, was a remarkable character. The Kerry 
people are, or perhaps *ve should say were, noted for the facility and 
appropriateness with which they gave nicknames. These names were, and 
still are in common use. In fact, they are almost necessary to distinguish 
the members of different families where a number of people all bear the 
fame surname. This lady belonged to the old sept of the O'Donoghuea 
of the Lakes, and was not a little proud of her descent. Her violence of 
denunciation, and her remarkable powers of invective are still remem- 
bered in Keiry. It would appear that she kept the purse, for when 
paying the labourers their weekly wages she would thunder forth to each 
in her native language, 1 May God prosper, or make away your wages as 
you earned them.' Morna was also a poetess, and her daughter, Mrs 
O'Leary, wrote a poem of fierce invective on the death of her husband, 
Arthur O'Leary, who was shot by a common soldier for refusing to sell 
his horse to a Protestant for five pounds. u Thank God," adds my in- 
formant, " those days are past." Moma Duiv's eldest son Maurice, 
who adopted the Liberator, was known by the sobriquet of " Old Hunt- 
ing-cap. ' He died at the advanced age of ninety-five. I am told he was 
■ splendid old man, and though he became blind as years advanced, 
preserved his other faculties to the last. He always wore his hunting- 
cap. An old Irish bardic topographer writes thus of the O'ConnelLj — 

" O'Connell of the slender sword, 
Is over the busby-footed hosts 
A hazel-tree of branching palms 
For the Minister plain of horse hosts. " 



of his father's life, writes thus of another Daniel O'Connell 
(see note at the end of this chapter) : — 

" Respecting him there existed many peculiar circum- 
stances. First, he was the two-ancl-twentieth child of 
his father and mother. Secondly, he entered the French 
service as a sub-lieutenant of Clare's regiment, at the 
age of fourteen, in the year 1759. Thirdly, unaided by 
anything but his merit, he rose to the rank of major- 
general. He became colonel-commandant of the German 
regiment, in the French service, of Salm-Salm, of two 
battalions, of twelve hundred men each, which he con- 
verted from an undisciplined mob into confessedly the 
unest regiment in the great French camp, at Metz, in 
1787. Fourthly, he served at the siege of Gibraltar, in 
1782, being then the second lieutenant-colonel of the 
regiment of royal Swedes — the first lieutenant-colonel 
being the Count Fersen, remarked for his personal beauty, 
and his alleged intrigues at the court of Louis XVI. 
Fifthly, Colonel Daniel Count O'Connell — to which rank 
he had then arrived—volunteered, with one hundred men, 
as marines, in the ship of the French admiral, who vainly 
endeavoured to prevent the relief of Gibraltar by Lord 
Hood. Sixthly, he was severely wounded in the actual 
attack upon Gibraltar, when the French were driven oif by 
General (afterwards Lord) Elliot ; and it was because of 
the gallantry he then displayed, that Louis XVI. conferred 
upon him the command of the regiment of Salm-Salm. 



already mentioned. Seventhly, lie was appointed, in the 
year 1788, one of the inspectors-general of the French in- 
fantry. He was the actual author of the system of in- 
ternal arrangements of the infantry forces now universally 
adopted in all the European armies. 3 Eighthly, he was 
entrusted in 17S9, by Louis XVI., during the first revolu- 
tionary violence, with the command of ten thousand of the 
foreign troops by which Paris was surrounded — and the 
writer of this sketch has often heard him declare, that if 
Loui< XVI. bad permitted the foreign troops to crush the 
Parisian revolutionary mobs, they were both able and 
willing to do so ; but the humanity of that benevolent, 
but weak monarch prevented the making of the great 
experiment of suppression. Ninthly, he remained about 
the person of the king as long as it was possible for 
personal devotion to be of any use; and only emigrated 

• Sir Bernard Burke, with reference to this system, tells us, that in 
the year 1788, "The French Government resolved that the art of war 
should undergo revision ; and a military board was formed for this 
purpose, comprising four general officers and one colonel. The colonel 
selected was O'Connell, who was esteemed one of the most scientific 
•.jitieers in the service. Without patronage or family he had risen to a 
colonelcy before he had attained his fortieth year. Only a few meetings 
of the board had taken place when the superior officers, struck with the 
depth and accuracy of information, great military genius, and correct 
views displayed by Colonel O Connell, unanimously agreed to confide to 
him the renewal of the whole French military code ; and he executed 
the arduous duty so perfectly that his tactics were those followed in the 
early campaigns of revolutionised France, adhered to by Napoleon, and 
adopted by Prussia, Austria, Russia, and England." 



when if. was impracticable to serve the king by any 
other conduct. He then made the Duke of Bruns- 
wick's campaign, as colonel d la suite , in the regiment 
of hussars, called ' De Berchiny;' and, after the close 
of that disastrous campaign, repaired to England, where 
he was principally instrumental in prevailing on the 
British Government to take into their service the officers 
of the Irish Brigade late in the employment of France. 
Tenthly, there were six regiments forming that brigade in 
the British service ; and the command of one of them was 
conferred upon him. Those regiments were exceedingly ill 
treated by the British Government ; and the officers (with 
the exception of the colonels) were unceremoniously put 
upon half-pay. The colonels, however, were, by stipula- 
tion, entitled to their full pay for life ; and he accordingly 
enjoyed that pay, and his rank of colonel in the British 
service, during the rest of his life. Being married to a 
St Domingo lady, he returned to France at the peace of 
Amiens, to make his claims to her estate ; but, on the 
renewal of hostilities, he was detained as a prisoner in 
Fiance until the restoration of the Bourbon family. 
Eleventhly, upon the accession of Louis XVIII., lie was 
restored to his rank as general in the French service, and 
received his full pay both as a French general and a 
British colonel, from 1814 to the downfall of Charles X. 
in 1830. Having refused to take the oath of allegiance to 
Louis Philippe, he lost his French pay ; but retained hia 



pay as British colonel until 1834, when he died in his 
ninety-first year." 4 

As Daniel O'Connell's grandfather had twenty- two chil- 
dren, and his father ten, a more detailed account of his 
family connections would occupy too much space, and would 
scarcely be of general interest, Mr O'Neill Daunt gives an 
amusing anecdote on this subject in his " Personal Recol- 
lections of O'Connell." 

M My grandmother," said the Liberator. " had twenty-two chil- 
dren, and half of them lived beyond the age of ninety 

Old Maurice O'Connell of Darrynane pitched upon an oak-tree to 
make his own coffin, and mentioned his purpose to a carpenter. 
In the evening, the butler entered after dinner to say that the 
carpenter wanted to speak to him. ' For what \ ' asked my 
uncle. 4 To talk about your honour's coffin,' said the carpenter, 
putting his head inside the door over the butler's shoulder. I 
wanted to get the fellow out, but my uncle said : ' Oh ! let him 
in, by all means. Well, friend, what do you want to say to me 
about my coffin?' — 'Only, sir, that I sawed the oak-tree your 
honour was speaking of into seven-foot plank.' — ' That would be 
wasteful,' said my uncle. 4 1 never was more than six feet and 
an inch in my vamps, the best day I ever saw.'- -'But your 
honour will stretch after death.' said the carpenter. ' Not eleven 
inches, 1 am sure, you blockhead ! But I '11 stretch, no doubt, 
perhaps a couple of inches or so. Well, make my coffin six feet 
six, and 1 '11 warrant that will give me room enough.' " 5 

Morgan O'Connell, of Carhen, had a fair income, 

though only a second son. It is noticeable and character- 

4 Sketch of the Life of Daniel O'Connell, Esq., M.P., by his son 
John Connell, late M.P., p. 3. 

5 Personal Recollections of O'Connell by O'Neill Daunt. 



fetic of the times that lie was obliged to make his first pur- 
chase of laud through the intervention of a trustee; and. 
although the consideration was paid by him, yet if the 
trustee (a Protestant) had chosen to violate the trust, he 
might have taken the property to himself. Any Protes- 
tant in the community, who chose to file a " bill of dis- 
covery," could compel that trust to be disclosed, and could 
take possession of the estate, without repaying any part of 
the purchase-money. 6 

The young Daniel spent his boyhood partly with his father 
at Carhen, and partly with his uncle at Darrynane. 
There is ample evidence that he was a child of more than 
ordinary intellect, and of more than ordinary observation. 
He has left his earliest impressions on record, and the effect 
which it had deserves special notice. 

The famous Paul Jones got command of three French 7 

8 Sketch by John O'Connell, page 6. 

7 Paul Jones' expedition caused considerable disgust and dismay. 
Mr Beresford wrote thus in a letter on the subject dated Dublin, April 27, 
1778 :— " Perhaps the most interesting to you may be to know the dis- 
grace brought upon the navy of Great Britain by a dirty privateer of 18 
guns, called, I think, the Ranger, commanded by a Scotchman of the 
name of Jones. You have already heard of this vessel ha ving come into 
Carrickfergus Bay, and dropped anchor by the Drake sloop-of-war of 20 
guns, and of her retiring upon the Drake's firing at her. She kept at 
the mouth of the harbour for eighteen hours afterwards, then sailed for 
Whitehaven, where you have heard what she did, as also in Scotland. 
She then came back here to sail again into Belfast ; but the Drake 
having gone out on a cruise, met her opposite to Donaghadee, where they 
engaged, and after thirty-eight hours, she took the Drake, having killed 
her captain, his clerk, and several men, and wounded Lieutenant Dobbs 



ressels in 177S to cruise in the Irish seas and the English 
Channel. He manned his small fleet with English and 
Irish Bailors who had been prisoners of war at Brest, and 
who preferred such service to dying amidst all the horrors 
of a French prison. A company of the Irish brigade, 
always ready to fight against the country that expatriated 
them, voluntered to serve on board the Bonhomme llic/tard, 
his flag-ship. 

The first land made by Paul Jones upon his cruise from 
Brest, was on the coast of Kerry. When he closed in 
with the haul, it fell a calm; and, the tide running at the 
rate of three or four knots an hour, between the Shell igs 
rock and Valentia harbour, the situation of the vessels 
became dangerous, and the boats were sent a-head to tow 
them out of their difficult position. Towards du<k. a light 
breeze springing up, the vessels got head-way, and were 

a volunteer from Carrickfergus, and twenty-one men. shattered the masta 
and rigging of the Drake. She took also two vessels which she sank, 
and two others which she carried with her. She sailed north, with all 
her sails crowded, with her prizes, intending fur Brest. Three frigates 
art-, I understand, after her, the Stag, of whom she has just twenty-four 
hours" law, the Boston, and another whose name I forget.'' An amusing 
observation of Mr Harwood's which he records at the end of this letter, 
deserves mention though not directly with the present subject. You re- 
member Mr Harwood's observation, " that His Majesty, God bless him, 
was the best natured man in his dominions ; he was taking always the 
worst lawyers in the nation to himself, and leaving the best ones for the 
defence of his subjects." Mr Harwood was M.P. for Doveraile in 1768, 
and was celebrated for his bon mots. — Correspondence of the Right Hon, 
John Btresfml } vol. i. p. 29. 



moving from the coast, and signals were made for the boats 
to cast off and come alongside ; hut two of the crews, con- 
sisting of some of the Brest prisoners, disregarded the 
signals, and, as the night darkened, pulled manfully for 
shore. They reached Valentia harbour safely, pursuit being 

Here they were received by a gentleman with apparent 
hospitality, but the hospitality was only apparent ; he at 
once despatched messengers privately to Tralee, that a 
sufficient force of military might be sent to apprehend 

O'Connell was but three years of age when he witnessed 
this treachery. Probably he did not understand it until 
long after; but he often spoke of one of the prisoners with 
whose manner and appearance he had been very much 
struck. This man was mounted on a grey horse, and ap- 
peared to be the lawyer of the party, as he remonstrated 
very loudly against the injustice which they had suffered. 8 

By way of reprisals, Paul Jones seized some sailors 
whom he found at sea off the coast of Yalentia. These men, 
either willingly or unwillingly, were engaged in the cele- 

8 " They remonstrated loudly against this treatment, alleging that they 
had not committed nor intended any breach of the laws, and that the 
authorities had no right to deprive them of their liberty. I well recol- 
lect a tall fellow who was mounted on a grey horse, remonstrating 
angrily at this coercion. No legal charge of course could be sustained 
against them, and accordingly in the end they were released." — Personal 
Recollections of O'Conndl, by O'Neill Daunt 



brated action off Flamborough Head, where Paul Jones 
compelled the Serapis to strike her colours to his Jleur- 
de-lis, but when in the act of securing his prize, his own 
abip sunk, shattered by the fight, and riddled by cannon 

Lieutenants McCarthy and Stack, who boarded with 
their few surviving marines from the tops, were the only 
French officers unhurt in the action, although they were 
the most exposed. M'Carthy died a lieutenant-colonel in 
the British service, and Stack died a general in the same 

The poor fishermen were taken to Brest, where they were 
allowed to labour in the arsenal, and saved money. In 
1S4G one of these men had but recently died at a great 
age. He was a native of Valentia island, by name John 
Murphy; but from the time of his compulsory adventure 
with the pirate, down to his latest day, he was better 
known by the sobriquet of " Paul Jones;" and such is 
the tenacity of the peasantry in matters of nomenclature, 
that his son, a respectable young farmer, was known as 
" Young Paul Jones." The father was a man of great 
industry and integrity, and died wealthy. 

Whatever motive the gentleman who entrapped Paul 
Jones' crew may have had, there is no doubt that the 
u King's Writ" did not always run very safely in Kerry , 
and that whatever righteous indignation may have been 
publicly shown, on the question of foreign marauders, there 




was a good deal of private connivance at overt acts of 

Dr William Forbes Taylor, who wrote " Eeminiscences 
of Daniel O'Connell," under the nom de plume of a " Muin- 
ster Farmer," says : — 

" In consequence of this form of intercourse (the periodical 
emigrations to join the Irish Brigade in France), what the law 
called smuggling, and what those engaged in it called free trade, 
was very active between the French ports and this part of Ire- 
land. Morgan O'Connell's store, or shop, at Cahirciveen, received 
many a cargo of French laces, wines, and silks, which were sold 
at an immense profit, in the south and west of Ireland, and 
enabled him rapidly to accumulate a large fortune. English 
cruisers avoided the iron-bound coast of Kerry, which then had a 
reputation even worse than its reality. It was said, that the men 
of the Kerry coast combined wrecking with smuggling ; and that, 
for both purposes, they had organised a very complete system of 
posts and telegraphic signals along the bluff headlands. When a 
suspicious sail was announced, nice calculations were made to 
ascertain her probable position after nightfall. A horse wan then 
turned out to graze on the fields near that part of the shore 
opposite to which she most probably was, and a lantern was tied 
to the horse's head. Viewed from a distance, this light, rising 
and falling as the animal fed, produced precisely the same effect 
as light in the cabin of a distant ship. The crew of the stranger 
vessel, thus led to believe that there was open water before them, 
steered boldly onwards, and could not discover their error until 
they had dashed against the rocks. There is no reason to believs 
that the O'Connells engaged in such treacherous transactions ; but 
there is indisputable evidence, that they were largely practised in 
this part of the country, and that they afforded great protection 
to smuggling, by deterring the English cruisers from the coast. 
Daniel O'Connell's infancy was thus passed amid scenes likely to 



impress his mind with stern hostility to the Protestant ascend, 
ancy, and the English Government by which it was supported. 
In the name of that ascendancy, he was taught that His ancestors 
had been plundered ; in the name of that ascendancy, he saw his 
religion insulted, and his family oppressed ; for the penal laws 
opposed serious impediments to his father's investment of the 
profits of his trade in the acquisition of land. All around him 
were engaged in a fiscal war with the English government, and, 
in the code of Kerry ethics, a seizure by the officers of the 
Custom-House was regarded as a robbery, and the defrauding of 
tin; revenue a simple act of justice to one's self and family." 9 

Education was also under penal law. By the peual 
laws it was " an 01101106" for a man to practise his religion. 

9 Proof has so often been given of the truth of this assertion, that it 
seems scarcely necessary to repeat it here ; yet the Irish are so frequently 
taunted with laziness and indifference, that it should be remembered 
how little there has been in their antecedents to have induced habits 
of industry. They were not allowed to engage in trade. Arthur 
Young, after alluding to the discouragements, under the penal laws, to 
Catholics engaging in any regular trade, requiring both industry and 
capital, exclaims — u If they succeed and make a fortune, what are they 
to do with it ? They can neither buy land, nor take a mortgage, nor 
even fine down the rent of a lease. "Where is there a people in the world 
to be found industrious under such circumstances?" 

Down to the present century, the smugglers of England were as inju- 
rious to their own Government, as serviceable to that of France. The 
Emperor Napoleon L said, at St Helena, to Dr O'Meara — " During the 
war with you, all the intelligence I received from England came through 
the smugglers. They are terrible people, and have courage and ability 
to do anything for money. ... At one time, there were upwards of 500 
of them at Dunkerque. I had every information I wanted through 
them. They brought over newspapers and despatches from the spies 
that we had in London. They took over spies from France, landed and 
kept them in their houses for some days, then dispersed them over the 
country, and brought them back when wanted.' 1 



Englishmen had changed their religion, and therefore the 
Irishman should change his. But there was one curious 
fallacy in the mode of reasoning by which this conclusioi 
was evolved. Englishmen declared (in theory, and veri, 
loudly), that they claimed for themselves the right of free 
judgment, of believing as they thought fit, of interpreting 
the Bible for themselves. But for the exercise of this right, 
for which they even asserted a divine origin, a similar 
liberty was not allowed to others — above all to their Celtio 
neighbour. It was indeed true that they denied this right 
even to each other, that they were by no means agreed as to 
which was the divine religion, which men should accept aa 
such ; that Puritan and Baptist, Roundhead and Cavalier, 
persecuted each other when they could, for the love of God, 
as cruelly as they united in persecuting the Catholic; 1 but 
this was poor consolation to the Irish. Englishmen had not 
often, or for any great length of time, the power of perse- 
cuting each other on religious grounds; unhappily for 
themselves they had a permanent opportunity, and a per- 
manent power of exercising such persecutions in Ireland. 

1 "Afther well damning one half the community, 
To pray God to keep all in pace an' in unity." 

— The Fudges in England. 

There is no doubt that these extremely clever sarcasms on the anomaliea 
of religious strife, had a powerful influence in removing prejudice, if no* 
ignorance, and showed the folly of the state of mind in which a man 
*' Pledged himself to be no more 

With Ireland's wrongs begrieved or sharam'd; 
To vote her grievances a bore, 
So she may suffer and be .'* 



In entering fully into this matter, we would observe 
that it is from no desire to recal tlie Litter past, or to excite 
feelings which are suppressed, if they are not passed away. 
But it would be quite impossible to understand O'Connell's 
life, or 0' Council's work, unless these subjects were fully 
considered and thoroughly understood. In his boyhood he 
was himself the victim of these oppressions, and though his 
experience of them was comparatively trifling, it should not 
be forgotten that he lived at a period when old men could 
tell him tales of personal pains and penalties, of a rule 
which a truthful English Protestant writer designated as 
only fit for the meridian of Barbary.* 

In the year 1695, some eighty years before the time of 
which we write, when Lord Capel was appointed Viceroy, 
he at ouce summoned a parliament, which sat for several 
sessions, and in which some of the penal laws against 
Catholics were enacted. As I believe the generality even 

1 " Severity which seemed calculated for the meridian of Bar- 
bnrv, while others remain yet the law of the land, which w r ould, if 
executed, tend more to raise than to quell an insurrection. From all 
which it is manifest, that the gentlemen of Ireland never thought of a 
ndical cure, from overlooking the real cause of disease, which, in fact, 
by in themselves, and not in the wretches they doomed to the gallows. 
Let them change their own conduct entirely, and the poor will not long 
riot. Treat them like men, who ought to be as free as yourselves ; put 
an end to that system of religious persecution, which, for seventy years, 
has divided the kingdom against itself— in these two circumstances lies 
the cure of insurrection ; perform them completely, and you will have 
an affectionate poor, instead of oppressed and discontented vassals."— 
You.iy's Tour, vol. ii. 42. 



of educated persons, both in England and Ireland, are 
ent irely ignorant of what these laws really were, I shall 
give a brief account of their enactments, premising first, 
that seven lay peers and seven Protestant bishops had the 
honourable humanity to sign a protest against them. 

(1.) The Catholic peers were deprived of their right to 
sit in parliament. (2.) Catholic gentlemen were forbidden 
to be elected as members of parliament. (3.) All Catholics 
were denied the liberty of voting, and excluded from all 
offices of trust, and indeed from all remunerative employ- 
ment, however insignificant. 3 (4.) They were fined £60 
a-month for absence from the Protestant form of worship. 
(5.) They were forbidden to travel five miles from their 
houses, to keep arms, to maintain suits at law, or to be 
guardians or executors. (6.) Any four justices of the peace 
could, without further trial, banish any man for life if he 
refused to attend the Protestant service. (7.) Any two 
justices of the peace could call any man over sixteen before 
them, and if he refused to abjure the Catholic religion, they 
could bestow his property to the next of kin. (8.) No 
Catholic could employ a Catholic schoolmaster to educate 
his children; and if he sent his child abroad for education; 

3 A petition was sent in to Parliament by the Protestant porters of 
Dublin, complaining of Darby Ryan for employing Catholic porters. 
The petition was respectfully received, and referred to a " Committee 
of Grievances."— Com. Jour., vol. ii. f. 699. Such an instance, and it ia 
only one of many, is the best indication of the motive for enacting the 
penal laws, and the cruelty of them. 



he was subject to a fine of £100, and the child could not 
inherit any property either in England or Ireland. (9.) Any 
Catholic priest who came to the country should be hanged. 
(10.) Any Protestant suspecting any other Protestant of 
bedding property 4 in trust for auy Catholic, might file a 
bill against the suspected trustee, and take the estate or 
property from him. (11.) Any Protestant seeing a Catholic 
tenant-at-will on a farm, which, in his opinion, yielded 
one-third more than the yearly rent, might enter on that 
farm, and by simply swearing to the fact, take possession. 
(12.) Any Protestant might take away the horse of a 
Catholic, no matter how valuable, by simply paying him 
£5. (13.) Horses and waggons belonging to Catholics, 
were in all cases to be seized for the use of the militia. 

4 It will be remembered that at this time Catholics were in a ma- 
jority of at least five to one over Protestants. Hence intermarriages 
took place, and circumstances occurred, in which Protestants found it 
their interest to hold property for Catholics, to prevent it from being 
nixed by others. A gentleman of considerable property in the county of 
Kerry lias informed me that his property was held in this way for several 

It was the opinion of O'Connell himself, that no landed estates could 
have remained in the possession of Catholics, "only that individual Pro- 
testants wera found a great deal honest er than the laws. The Freeman 
family of Castlecor," he observed, " were trustees for a large number of 
Catholic gentlemen in the county of Cork. In Kerry there was a Pro- 
testant, named Hugh Falvey, who acted as trustee for many Catholic 
proprietors there. In Dublin there was a poor Protestant, in very 
humble circumstances, who was trustee for several Catholic gentlemen, 
and discharged his trust with perfect integrity/ — (/ Neill Daunt s Personal 



(14.) Any Catholic gentleman's child who became a Pro- 
testant, could at once take possession of his fathers 

O'Connell, who had a fund of anecdote, was accustomed 
to relate an amusing incident on the subject of the peculiar 
facilities afforded for a change of religion. 

A Mr Myers, of Eoscommon, was threatened that a "bill 
of discovery " would be filed against him ; in other words, 
that one of the enactments of the penal laws would be put 
in force, and that he, being a Catholic, would be ejected by 
a Protestant who would legally claim his estate. 

Mr Myers preferred his property to his religion, and 
immediately posted to Dublin in all haste. Here he pro- 
ceeded to the Protestant Archbishop, and informed him of 
his desire to be received into the State Church. The arch- 
bishop examined him upon the points of difference be- 
tween the two churches, and found that he knew nothing 
at all about the matter. He accordingly said he could not 
receive him into the Anglican Church unless he should get 
some previous instruction ; and politely offered to commit 
him to the care of the Rector of Castlerea, who chanced to 
be in Dublin at the time. The proposal was most gratify- 
ing to Mr Myers, for he and the rector had long been boon 
companions. They met in Dublin, as they had met in 
Eoscommon, dined together every day for a week, and thus 
Mr Myers went through his course of theological instruc- 
tion. The conversation may not have been very spiritual, 



but O'Conuell declares that a good deal of spirits were 
consumed. Be this as if may. and it certainly was the 
custom of the times to indulge freely, Mr Myers considered 
himself sufficiently prepared, and his friend the rector 
agreed with him. 

Whatever the private feelings or reluctance of the arch- 
bishop may have heen, he could scarcely refuse to receive 
an important convert ; he permitted him to make his solemn 
public abjuration of the errors of Popery, and to receive the 
Protestant sacrament. In order to celebrate the happy 
event, the prelate invited Myers and several zealous Pro- 
testant friends to dinner. When the cloth was removed, 
his Grace thus addressed the convert: "Mr Myers, you 
have this day been received into the true Protestant 
Church. For this you should thank God. I learn with 
pleasure from the Rector of Castlerea that you have ac- 
quired an excellent knowledge of the basis of the Protest- 
ant religion. Will you he so kind as to state, for the 
edification of the company, the grounds upon which you 
have cast aside Popery and embraced the Church of Eng- 
land/ — ; Faith, my lord/ replied Myers, 1 I can easily do 
that ; the grounds of my conversion to the Protestant re- 
ligion are two thousand rive hundred acres of the best 
grounds in the county Roscommon." The reply of the 
archbishop is not on record, but we hope there are few 
who will not agree with us in thinking it very pitiful and 
very little creditable to humanity, that man should be com- 



pelled by his fellow-man to violate his conscience on the 
pretence of enforcing a religion. 

0' Council was singularly susceptible of female influence, 
and if at one period of his early life this susceptibility led 
him into evil, it was only because all that is best and 
purest in human nature is liable to perversion. He was 
tenderly attached to his mother, and, like many great men, 
attributed much of his success in life to her influence, ex- 
ample, and teaching. 

He often spoke of her in after years ; and even when his 
wonderful career was near its close, in 1841, he wrote 
thus : — ■ 

" I am the son of a sainted mother, who watched over my 
childhood with the most faithful care ; she was of a high order of 
intellect, and what little I possess was bequeathed me by her 
I may, in fact, say without vanity, that the superior situation in 
which I am placed by my countrymen has been owing to her. 
Her last breath was passed, I thank Heaven, in calling down 
blessings on my head ; and I valued her blessing since. In the 
perils and the dangers to which I have been exposed through life, 
I have regarded her blessing as an angel's shield over me ; and as 
it has been my protection in this life, I look forward to it also as 
one of the means of obtaining hereafter a happiness greater than 
any this world can give." 6 

He was proud of his family also, and anxious to discover 
any mention of them in Irish history. However he may 
have used the suaviter in mcdo as his style in winning 
popular affection and applause, he could practise the for* 

6 In the Belfast Vindicator, letter dated 20tli January 1841. 



titer in re, if any undue, or shall we say '•blarneying," 
influence was tried on him personally. There waa 
some talk at Darrynaue 6 one day on the subject of pedi- 

6 The following account of the Ahhey of Darrynane, of which an 
illustration is given at the head of this chapter, was drawn up for 
my "History of Kerry" by the present proprietor, Daniel Connell, 
Esq., J. P., the grandson of the Liberator. This gentleman is devoted 
to archaeological pursuits, and a contributor to many scientific journals. 
The " abbey," so called, of Darrynane, or Ahavore, was a small establish- 
ment of Canons Regular of St Augustine. The remains consist of the 
church and some domestic buildings. 

The church is a simple parallelogram, about 40 feet by 18 feet. The 
walls remain, but the roof has long since disappeared. There are two 
doors in the north and south walls, towards the west end, opposite one 
another : that to the north has been the principal entrance, and has 
some slight remains of a moulded jamb and arch, the mouldings bein» 
of very early character. One of the heads which supported the label 
moulding, and some traces of the moulding itself, remain, but in a very 
worn and mutilated condition. The south door opened into the court- 
yard of the monastery, and had a plain chamfered jamb and arch. Both 
doors had pointed arches. On the north side, the church was lit by two 
small round-headed lancets, having the common early " chamfer and 
square" for jamb and arch moulding. A similar window is in the south- 
east corner. The east window is a triplet of lancets, very narrow, with 
pointed heads, and similar mouldings to the side windows. These east 
windows have been at some period blocked up with masonry to nearly 
half their height ; apparently at the same time the doors have been 
partially blocked up on the inside, and converted into square-headed 
openings. All the windows have very wide splays internally, carried 
round the heads of the eastern group. None of the windows have any 
rebate or groove for glass, but seem to have been barred with iron. 

The floor has been greatly raised by interments. A piscina with 
plain chamfer and round-headed trefoil arch remains. It has had a 
double basin, and a credence-shelf. Owing to the rise of the floor, tha 
basin is now only a few inches over the ground inside. 

A rude block of masonry at the east end formed an altar. Although 



grees and descents. O'Connell said something about hia 
family. " Oh ! " exclaimed a guest, " I saw your name in 
Macgeogehan's " History of Ireland," somewhere at a very 
early date." 

The Liberator looked greatly pleased. " Pray get the 
book," he said ; " it is in the library." The book was 
got, but the passage was not forthcoming, and the gentle- 

the upper part and slab are gone, still this rises much above the sill of 
the east windows, and is singularly high compared to the piscina. It 
would seem, that, after being disused, and the floor raised, the church 
had been again adapted for service, the present altar built, and the 
windows behind blocked up to suit the altered level. A curious pro- 
jection of the rubble blocking of the north-east lancet seems to have 
served as a corbel for a statue or lamp. 

The domestic buildings are in the form of an |_ one limb joining the 
church near the south-east angle, the other projecting from this to the 
west. These are very rude, and have no architectural features of any 
interest. The limb joining the church has some rude windows, and a 
door of rubble work in the east side wall, but they are much injured. 
A door, with pointed arch of rubble, may be traced in the west wall, 
near the south-west angle. It is blocked, and the gable of the second 
wing built against it. Of the latter, only the gables and portions of the 
side walls remain. 

All the buildings are of rubble work, very rude, with a great quantity 
of mortar of the local slate stone. The window and door-dressings in 
the church are of brown sandstone, from a quarry near the ruins. Owin$» 
to the bad weather-quality of this, they are much injured by time. 

The wails of the domestic buildings do not bond with those of the 
church, nor with one another. The buildings appear, therefore, to have 
been erected at three distinct periods — the church being probably the 
earliest. No fire-places nor flues remain, or can have existed. 

In consequence of the east wall of the church having settled out, and 
threatening to fall, Mr O'Connell has lately had two strong buttressei 
built to support it. 



man was obliged to admit that he believed he had made 
a mistake. 

O'Connell flung himself out of the room with a petulance 
he seldom exhibited, and, as he retired, was heard muttering 
something about " humbug." As I have this anecdote from 
a gentleman who was present, there can be no doubt of its 

O'Neill Daunt says in his 14 Recollections "that O'Connell 
44 was angry at the disparaging manner in which his 
family had been spoken of by an anonymous writer in the 
4 Mask,' who described leading members of Parliament. 
4 The vagabond allows me a large share of talent, but he 
says I am of humble origin. My father's family was very 
ancient, and my mother was a lady of the first rank.' 7 

44 In the time of James II., Maurice O'Conal, of the 
county Clare, was a general of brigade and colonel of the 
king's guards. In that regiment John O'Conal of Darry- 
nane — the lineal ancestor of the Liberator — served at the 
head of a company of foot which he himself had raised and 
embodied in the regiment. 

44 When the Irish lost the day at Aughrim, John retired 
with his shattered regiment to Limerick, and was included in 
the treaty or capitulation of that stronghold. Respecting 

7 In one of Victor Hugo's works there is an analysis made by him ol 
the great men of modern times who were respectivel}' of noble and 
plebeian blood, and among the former he classes " O'Connell, gentil* 
homme Irlandais." 



this gentleman, O'Connell told an anecdote in the House 
of Commons, which awakened a storm of anger, groans, 
and turbulence. When the storm had abated, O'Connell, 
unabashed by the noisy vociferation of the house, pro- 
ceeded with his anecdote, which he deemed illustrative of 
the subject before him : 1 On the morning of the battle of 
Aughrim, an ancestor of mine, who commanded a com- 
pany of infantry in King James's army, reprimanded one 
of his men who had neglected to shave himself, ' Oh ! your 
honour,' said the soldier, 6 whoever takes the trouble of 
cutting my head off in battle may take the trouble of 
shaving it when he goes home.' " 

Of another of his ancestors he spoke thus : — 
" In 1655, John O'Connell of Ashtown, near Dublin, 
the brother of the lineal ancestor of the Liberator, proved 
his good affection to Oliver Cromwell by conforming to 
Protestantism. He thereby preserved his estate. ' I saw 
his escutcheon," said the Liberator, ' on the wall of St 
James's church, in Dublin, some twenty years ago. I do 
not know if it be there still." 

In Smith's " History of Kerry," the O'Connell family and 
pedigree are scarcely mentioned. A reason is given for 
this omission which is singularly and painfully character- 
istic of the times :— 

" In the course of his literary peregrinations, Dr Smith visited 
Darrynane, where he was entertained for several days by the 
grandfather of the great Agitator. The patriarch of Iveragh, in 



the course of conversation, communicated to the historian many 
interesting particulars of local and domestic history. Warmed by 
his genial hospitality and delighted with his fund of anecdote, 
Dr Smith proposed to Mr O'Connell to devote a due proportion 
of the forthcoming history to the virtues and heroism of the Clan- 
Connell. The reply was not very encouraging : 1 We have peace, 
in these glens, Mr Smith,' said the patriarch, 'and amid their 
seclusion enjoy a respite from persecution : we can still in these 
solitudes profess the beloved faith of our fathers. If man is 
against us, God assists us ; He gives us wherewithal to pay for the 
education of our children in foreign lands and to further their 
advancement in the Irish Brigade ; but if you make mention of 
me or mine, these sea-side solitudes will no longer yield us an 
asylum. The Sassenagh will scale the mountains of Darrynane. 
and we too shall be driven out upon the world without house or 
home.' The wishes of the patriarch were respected by the his- 
torian — a broken sentence is all he devotes to the annals of the 

In truth, this anecdote, for the authenticity of which we 
can vouch, reads but too much like the piteous plea of the 
Red Indian to the white man; all he asks is to be left in 
peace, to be allowed to live, to be spared even his poverty. 
It is not creditable to our common humanity that such 
pleas should have ever been uttered by those who were once 
united in one faith, and whc at least believed in one 

O'Connell was also very particular that the date of liia 
birth should be given correctly, and wrote on one occasion 
to contradict some mistakes which had been made on this 
subject. He commenced by saying that it was right to be 



accurate in trifles. He then goes on to say that. a para- 
graph had appeared in the journals which he was desirous 
of contradicting. u It contained two mistakes — it asserted 
tli at I was born in 1774, and secondly, that I was intended 
for the Church. I was not intended for the Church. No 
man respects, loves, or submits to the Church with more 
alacrity than I. But I was not intended for the priesthood. 
It is not usual with the Catholic gentry in Ireland to de- 
termine the religious destiny of their children; and being 
an eldest son, born to an independence, the story of my 
having been intended for the Church is a pure fabrication. 
I was not born in the year 1774. Be it known to all whom 
it may concern that I was born on the 6th of August 1775, 
the very year in which the stupid obstinacy of British 
oppression forced the reluctant people of America to seels 
security in arms, and to commence that bloody struggle foi 
national independence which has been in its results bene- 
ficial to England, whilst it has shed glory and conferred 
liberty, pure and sublime, on America." 8 

The Liberator's literary tastes manifested themselves 
early in life ; and again, in relating how he mastered the 
alphabet, we find yet another illustration of the unhappy 
state of unhappy Ireland. It was a crime for a man to 
have his children taught to read in Ireland ; and when it 
was found that Irish love of learning was too strong even 
for penal laws, and that the Irishman sent his sons to 

8 Dublin Evening Post, 17th July 1828. 


obtain abroad the advantages that were denied to him at 
home, it was further made penal to seek education abroad. 
In truth, it was hard to know what was not penal in Ire- 
land for a Catholic, and, in truth, any reproach on " Irish 
ignorance " comes with an ill grace from those whose 
ancestors did their best to render Irishmen a nation of 
ignorant slaves. We may be pardoned for doubting, since 
we neither desire to deny our nationality nor apologise for 
it, if the case had been reversed, whether the English 
serf would have made as painful efforts, and as great sacri- 
fices to secure himself education, had it been thus denied 
to him. 

For Protestant education, however, every provision was 
made. For the upper classes there was Trinity College, 
Dublin; for the lower classes there were the Charter Schools. 
These schools were founded in 1733, in response to a peti- 
tion of the Protestant primate and archbishop, clergy, and 
laity. The preamble of the petition ran thus : — 

" Humbly sheweth, — That in many parts of Ireland there are 
great tracks of mountaining (sic) and coarse land, of ten, twenty, 
or thirty miles in length, and of a considerable breadth, almost 
universally inhabited by Papists, and that in most parts of the 
same, and more especially in the provinces of Leinster, Minister, 
and Connaught, the Papists far exceed the Protestants in all sorts 
of numbers (sic). 

"That the generality of the Popish natives appear to have very 
little sense or belief of religion, but what they implicitly take from 
their clergy (to whose guidance in such matters they seem wholly 
to give themselves up), and thereby are unfit, not only in gross 




ignorance, but in great disaffection to yonr sacred Majesty and 
Government— so that, if some effectual method be not made use 
of to instruct these great numbers of people in the principles of 
loyalty and religion, there seems to be very little prospect but 
that superstition, idolatry, and disaffection to your Majesty, or 
to your royal posterity, will, from generation to generation, be 
propagated amongst them." 9 

And so the Charter Schools were established. It was the 
old story, as old as the first ages of Christianity: the Chris- 
tians were disloyal because they obeyed God, in preference 
to Csesar, even while they proved their loyalty to Caesar, in 
all that was not disloyal to their God, by pouring out their 
life's blood in torrents for tbe support of the empire. The 
Thundering Legion, whose Christian soldiers obtained by 
prayer 1 the salvation of the army of Marcus Aurelius, 
received no better treatment at the hands of their Pagan 
calumniators than the Irish who were loyal to James, the 
faithless Stuart. 

And these schools, in which the " ignorant" Irish were 
to receive their education, were thus described by the bene- 
volent Howard and Sir Jerome Fitzpatrick the Government 
inspector-general : — 

" The children, generally speaking, are unhealthy, half* 

9 " Ireland's Grievances— The Penal Laws," p. 29. Dublin: ]812. 
Catholics were not admitted to Trinity College, Dublin, until 1793, even 
as humble students, unambitious of academical honours or promotion. 

1 The authenticity of this miracle is admitted even by pagan histo- 
rians. See Dion Cassius, Capitolinus, Claudius, and Tillemont, vol. ii, 
p. 370. 



starved, in rags, totally uneducated, too much worked, and 
in all respects shamefully neglected." 

The hedge-schoolmasters who taught in fear and trem- 
bling, while one pupil watched the road, that all might dis- 
perse promptly, if an enemy to learning came in sight, or the 
itinerant schoolmaster who wandered from house to house, 
as perhaps a safer method of obtaining a precarious exist- 
ence, were the only instructors of the Irish youth : yet for all 
that the Irish youth learned, and learned well, and held 
his place as a man of learning in afrer life in those Euro- 
pean courts where he was welcomed, and showed himself 
not only loyal to the foreign power under which he took 
military service, but also of no ordinary ability as a com- 
mander and a strategist. 

At a time when O'ConnelUs own father could not be 
lawfully his guardian, it can be a matter of little surprise 
that he learned the rudiments of education from an ordinary 

2 In 1703, it was enacted " that no Catholic could be guardian to, or 
have the custody or tuition of any orphan or child under the age of 21 
yeaiN, and that the guardianship, when a Catholic was entitled to it, 
should be disposed of by the Chancellor to the nearest Protestant rela- 
tion of the child, or to some other Protestant, who is thereby required 
to use his utmost care to educate and bring up such child in the Pro- 
testant religion. Any offence against this act was punished by a penalty 
of £500." The act permitting Catholics to be guardians to their own 
children was not passed until 1782. 

Usher, who cannot be suspected of any partiality to * Papist3," has 
himself given an account of his visit to Gal way, where he found John 
Lynch, afterwards Bishop of Killala, teaching a school of humanity- 



Even in his own account of his first lesson in reading we 
see his preference for the " spoonful of honey" 3 suffici- 
ently manifested ; and though it cannot be doubted that his 
personal experience of the French Revolution had a power- 
ful effect on his future career, and made him tenaciously 
fearful of physical force, yet his natural character was 
gentle. The schoolmaster won his affection in a peculiar 
manner. His own son, John O'Connell, himself one of 
the best and gentlest of men, has left the account on 
record, and we give it in his words. 

" We had proofe," lie says, " during our continuance in that citie, how 
his schollars profitted under him, by the verses and orations which they 
brought us." Usher then relates how he seriously advised the young 
schoolmaster to conform to the popular religion ; but, as Lynch declined 
to comply with his wishes, he was bound over, under sureties of ,£400 
sterling, to " forbear teaching." The tree of knowledge was, in truth, 
forbidden fruit, and guarded sedulously by the fiery sword of the law. 

For further information on this subject, and for details of the history 
of Irishmen who distinguished themselves abroad and at home under 
penal laws, we refer the reader to O'Callaghan's " History of the Irish 
Brigade," and to our " Illustrated History of Ireland." 

a Mr O'Neill Daunt says in his " Eeminiscences " — " On one occasion 

when O'Connell had listened to for a long time with great suavity, I 

Baid, 4 You were infinitely more civil to Mr than I could have been.' 

" ' My dear friend/ replied he, 1 you will catch more flies with a spoon- 
ful of honey than with a hogshead of vinegar.' 

" He admits, however, that he could show symptoms of being bored 
now and then. 

" Some of the habitues of the Repeal Association who knew O'Oonneira 
feelings on such matters, have whispered to me during the speech of a 
long-winded orator, ' Watch Dan, now ! observe how bo-red he is — there 
he sits with his hat pulled down over his eyes, patiently waiting until 
this gentleman finishes.' " 



" An itinerant schoolmaster came to Carhen one day, and took 
the little fellow on his knee. He then took out a pocket-comb 
and combed the child's hair thoroughly without hurting him, as 
the rough country maids scarcely ever failed to do. In gratitude 
for exemption from his usual torture, the child readily consented 
to learn his letters from the old man; and in the short space of 
an hour and a half, learned the whole alphabet perfectly and per- 

" The moral of this tale is, not that you should comb children's 
heads gently, in order to ensure their learning quickly ; but that 
the difficulties of teaching them can be much lightened by a little 
care to conciliate their good- will to the task." 

It is just possible that the brain was nervously sensitive, 
as is frequently the case in children of more than ordinary 
capacity, and they may be tried to the very verge of 
endurance by ungentle usage. We agree with Mr 
O'Connell that children may be taught the alphabet with- 
out u combing the head gently," but it is worth considering 
that if delicate and sensitive children were treated with 
more consideration, it might be of advantage to them both 
morally and physically. 

O'Connell was then nearly four years old. The school- 
master's name was David Mahoney. 

In 1787, O'Connell was taken to the Tralee assizes 
and witnessed a curious exhibition of the fashion in which 
justice was administered in those days. From the manner 
in which the lower orders of Irish were hunted from one 
place to another, not only by the " English army," but 
even by their own lords, whose private ieuds were neither 



few nor far between, many of them took to a predatory 
life from necessity, and continued it from desire. A 
band of these unfortunate men, who were called Crelaghs* 
infested the mountains of Glencarra, and preyed on the 
cattle in Clare and Gal way, which they drove away 
and sold daily in the fairs of Kerry ; or with impartial 
rapacity swept off the stolen beeves of Kerry and disposed 
of them retributively in Galway and Clare. The harassed 
farmers regarded these u Crelaghs " with terror and loath- 
ing : but their hatred was repressed by fear, because 
the Protestant gentry extended to the freeboolers a kind 
of negative protection. A portion of the spoil which the 
grateful robbers presented to the sympathising magistrates 
rewarded this profitable connivance. Emboldened by ai 
impunity which, having purchased, they regarded as a righ' ■ 
the robbers stole fourteen cows from the lands of Morgan 
O'Connell. Exasperated by this outrage, the father of 
the future Liberator, at the head of an %rmed party, 
penetrated the mountain defiles and proceeded to storm 
the haunt of the banditti. The struggle which ensued 
was of a very desperate and even sanguinary char- 
acter, as the Crelaghs offered a fierce resistance, in the 
course of which the father of young Daniel wounded one 
and captured two; while the remainder of the robbers 
broke through their assailants and effected their escape, to 
renew in another part of the country the depredations 
which made them so formidable in Glencarra. 



One evening, as Morgan O'Connell was riding home 
alone, he was set upon by these desperadoes ; determined 
to revenge on his friendless head the injuries which, when 
surrounded by companions, he had inflicted on them. 
Rushing down the slope of a mountain, they called on him 
with threats to stop, and fired on him as he continued his 
course. His horse at this moment, terrified by the dis- 
charge of the musket, became unmanageable, and he was 
flung heavily to the ground. While thus prostrate he was 
again fired at, but fortunately without effect. Regaining 
his feet, he succeeded in recovering his horse, and springing 
upon its back, he was speedily beyond the reach of the 
banditti, who pursued aud fired at him as he fled. 

Some time subsequently one of the Crelaghs was con- 
victed of horse-stealing at Tralee. Leaning on the bar, he 
heard the sentence of death with a degree of savage apathy 
Which astonished every spectator in the court. \ l Is it 
listening to his lordship you are, you stupid gorneril ? " 
exclaimed a bystander, with unfeigned amazement. " Don't 
you see it's listening I am?" replied the prisoner angrily; 
u but fot do I care fot he says. Is not Colonel Bleuner- 
hasset looking at me — isn't he — all the time? and he says 
nothing." The prisoner, doubtless, relied on the presents 
which he had given the colonel for an entire immunity 
from the penalty of crime. 4 Even the judges of that day 

4 Kerry cows were the victims of Kerry feuds from an early period, 
but especially during the Desmond war. The following extract firm our 



were not all exempted from the weakness of accepting a 
bribe, though, for the credit of the bench, we must hope • 
these delinquents were the rare exception. Denis O'Brien, 
a man not noted for obedience to law, had a record at 
Nenagh, and learning that the judge had talked of pur- 
chasing a set of carriage horses, Denis sent him a mag- 
nificent set. The judge graciously accepted the horses, 
praised their points extravagantly, and then, charging the 
jury in favour of Denis, obtained a verdict for him. The 
moment Denis gained his point, he sent in a bill to the 
judge for the full value of the horses. His lordship called 
Denis aside to expostulate privately with him. " Oh ! Mr 

" History of Kerry," recently published, will show how justice was 
administered : — 

" The judges went circuit twice a year, except in the county Kerry, 
but whether the county was exempted from judicial visits on account 
of the general propriety of the inhabitants, or because of its remoteness 
and inaccessibleness, is by no means evident. Justice was administered 
with tolerable impartiality, for, amongst the earliest Kerry records we 
can find of the seventeenth century, Sir Thomas Denny was fined 
and bound Ho good behaviour' for seven years towards John Darroe : his 
bails were John Fitzmaurice and Rev. Barry Denny ; and at the same 
assizes Matthew Boarman and Daniel Sullivan were indicted, for that 
they, 19th December, in the nineteenth year of his Majesty, at Tralee, 
did assault, beat, batter, and whip John Darran. Summer assizes were 
then held, and in the same year David Sullivan was released from cus- 
tody, wherein he had been detained since the summer assizes of 1740, 
for non-payment of a fine of £15, to which he had been sentenced for 
stealing a deer from the park of the Knight of Kerry. In 1777 a num- 
ber of persons were sentenced, and a man was actually condemned to be 
hanged for stealing ' one Caroline hat, value 10s., and one wigg, valua 
6s. sterling.'" 



O'Brien.*' said he, " I did not think you meant to charge 
me for those horses. Come now. my dear friend, why 
should I pay you for them?" — " Upon my word, that is 
curious talk," retorted Denis, in a tone of fierce defiance, 
"I'd like to knew why your lordship should not pay me 
for them?" To this inquiry, of course, a reply was im- 
possible. The judge was obliged to hold his peace and pay 
the money. 

While enjoying the amusements of the county town, with 
keen eye seeing and sharp ear hearing what perhaps was 
scarcely noticed by others, OX'onnell listened to a ballad 
which made an indelible impression on his memory. He 
related the circumstance thus to Mr O'Neill Daunt many 
years afterwards — 

■ I liked ballads above all things when I was a boy," said 
O'ConnelL "In 17^7 I was brought to the Tralee assizes. 
Iflim were then a great mart for all sorts of amusements— and 
I was greatly taken with the ballad-singers. It was then I heard 
two ballad-singers, a man and a woman, chanting out a ballad, 
which contained a verse I still remember : 

' I leaned my back against an oak, 
I thought it was a trusty tree, 
But first it bent, and then it broke — 
'Twas thus my love deserted me.' 1 

He sang the first two lines— she sang the third line, both together 
sang the fourth, and so on through the whole ballad." 

• This is a verse from the well-known Scotch ballad : — 

" Oh waly, waly up the bank, 

And waly, waly doun the brae." 



O'Connell spent much of his time, even at this early 
period of his life, in study. When his playmates were en- 
gaged in noisy games, he would sit apart absorbed in some 
book; and books were rare enough then to be dearly prized. 
The " Voyages of Captain Cook" specially interested him, and 
he would sit for hours poring over the volume, or finding 
out the places on the map. He had also a great fancy for 
the Dublin Magazine, which was taken in by his uncle. 
This serial contained portraits of distinguished personages, 
with their biographies, and even then some vision of and 
aspiration for future fame must have entered his mind, for 
he used to say to himself, " I wonder will my portrait ever 
appear in this." Yet, even in his wildest dreams, how 
little could he have anticipated his magnificent future. 6 

On one occasion when the family were eagerly discuss- 
ing the topics of the day, and the respective merits of Burke 
and Grattan, O'Connell, then only a lad of nine years of 
age, was observed sitting in an arm-chair, silent and 

6 Speaking of liis own early recollections, O'Connell said : " My uncle 
used to get the DuUin Magazine at Carhen ; it usually contained the 
portrait of some remarkable person, with a biographical notice. I was 
always an ambitious fellow, and I often used to say to myself, ' I wonder 
will my visage ever appear in the Dublin Magazine,.'' I knew at that 
time of no greater notoriety. In 1810, when walking through the streets 
Boon after some meeting at which I had attracted public notice, I saw a 
magazine in a shop-window, containing the portrait of ' Councillor 
O'Connell/ and I said to myself with a smile, 'Here are my boyish 
dreams of glory realised.' Though I need not tell you that in 1810, I 
had long out- jrown that species of ambition." — PwrsonoX liecoll6Gtion$^ 
vol. i. p. 102. 


abstracted. He was asked by a lady, who wondered at 
his silence, "What he was thinking of?" His reply waa 
characteristic — 

" I'll make a stir in the world yet!" 

Father 0* Grady was then the chaplain of the 0' Council 
family, and prepared the boy for the Sacraments. A curious 
anecdote is told of this ecclesiastic. He resided at Lou- 
vain during the wars of Marlborough, and from the 
troubled state of Flanders, he was reduced to the deepest 
distress. He begged his way to the coast, hoping to meet 
some vessel whose captain might take him for charity to 
Ireland. As he was trudging slowly and painfully along, 
he suddenly fell in with a band of robbers. One of the 
robbers was a Kerryman, named Denis Mahony, who, 
moved to compassion by the penniless poverty of the priest, 
and charmed with the sound of his native tongue, gave 
him out of his own share of plunder the means of returning 
to Ireland. " God be merciful to poor Denis Mahony!" 
Father 0* Grady was accustomed to say, when relating this 
adventure; "I found him a useful friend in need. But 
lor all that he might prove a very disagreeable neigh- 

The Liberator in after years accounted for the appear- 
ance of a native of Kerry among a gang of Flemish rob- 
bers, by supposing that he had served in Marlborough's 
army, and, deserting from ill-treatment, sought subsist- 
ence on the highway as a footpad. 



But poor Father O'Grady only escaped from the perils of 
starvation and the sea to run the risk of hanging or 
imprisonment at home. He was seized on his return to 
Ireland, and tried on the charge of being a " Popish 
priest." A witness mounted the table and swore he had 
heard him "say" Mass. 

" Pray, sir," said the judge, " how do you know he said 

" I heard him say it, my lord," replied the witness. 

" Did he say it in Latin?" inquired his lordship, 

"Yes, my lord." 

" Then you understand Latin?" 

" A little." 

" What words did you hear him use?" 
" Ave Maria." 

" That is part of the Lord's Prayer; is it not?" 

" Yes, my lord," was the fellow's answer. 

" Here is a pretty witness to convict the prisoner," cried 
the judge; "he swears that Ave Maria is Latin for the 
Lord's Prayer." As the judge pronounced a favourable 
charge, the jury acquitted Father O'Grady. 7 

O'Connell was sent to school in Cork by his uncle 
Maurice at the age of thirteen. This school was the first 
establishment of the kind which had been opened in Ire- 

7 An English Protestant writer says : " For many a long year, Irish 

history is hut a melancholy recital of religious intolerance and party 
nndictiveness." — Ireland under British Rule, hy Lieut.-Colonel Jervis 



land since the Protestant Reformation. Mr Fagin, in his 
Memoir of O'Connell, says that he did not exhibit any 
extraordinary intellect at this period ; and as his own 
father was a school-companion of the Liberator, he had 
good opportunity for correct information. 8 

O'C nneli, however, considered himself to have been a 
quick child, and as he was not remarkable for modesty, he 
had no hesitation in saying so. On one occasion, when 
travelling with Mr Daunt, he made this assertion : 11 I 
was, in childhood, remarkably quick and persevering. My 

RA.. M.P., London, 186S, p. 208. Again, he says : " The following re- 
wards were fixed for the discovery of Popish clergy and schoolmasters — 

M For an archbishop, bishop, vicar-general, or any other person 

exercising any foreign ecclesiastical jurisdiction, . . £.30 
For each clergyman, and each secular clergyman, not regis- 
tered according to 2 Anne, c vii 20 

For a schoolmaster or usher, 10 

— A:ine t c. iii., Irish Statutes. 

He adds : " To limit the power of a Papist to take leases for more 
than thirty-one years made him care but little for investing in laud 
till death gave him *a Protestant lease of the sod.' To forbid the 
education of Popish children by Papists, either abroad or at home, 
aecured their continuing or remaining in happy ignorance," p. 215. 

s *• Daniel Connell was early sent by his uncle, Maurice, by whom 
he was adopted, to Mr Harrington's school, in the great island of Cove, 
near Cork. The father of the writer was a school-fellow of his, and wo 
have often heard him say, that O'Connell did not display any extraordi- 
nary precocity of intellect. He was, like Swift and Sheridan, and * 
thousand others who afterwards rose to eminence, but an ordinary 
scholar." — Fajin's Lift of O'Conndl. 

This work was reprinted from the very type used for its original 
destination — a newspaper. 



childish propensity to idleness was overcome by the fear of 
disgrace: I desired to excel, and could not brook the idea 
of being inferior to others. One day I was idle, and my 
teacher finding me imperfect in my lesson, threatened to 
beat me. But I shrank from the indignity, exclaiming, — ■ 
4 Oh, don't beat me for one half hour! If I haven't my 
lesson by that time, beat me then ! ' The teacher granted 
me the reprieve, and the lesson, rather a difficult one, was 
thoroughly learned." 

On another occasion O'Connell said to me, " I was the 
only boy who wasn't beaten at Harrington's school; lowed 
this to my attention." 

In 1791 Maurice O'Connell sent the two brothers to 
Flanders, intending that they should enter the famous 
Jesuit college at Liege. They sailed from Ireland in a brig 
bound for London. The captain undertook to land them 
at Dover, whence they were to take the packet to Ostend. 

The tide not serving when they arrived at their destina- 
tion, they were landed in boats, and Mr O'ConnelPs first 
acquaintance with the English shore was made as he 
stumbled on the beach after a thorough submersion from 
a capsized boat. 

An opportunity offering in a few days, the party pro- 
ceeded to Ostend, and thence by diligence to Liege, where, 
however, a disappointment awaited them. Mr O'Connell 
was found to have passed the age when boys could be 
admitted as students, and they had to retrace their steps 



as far as Louvain, there to await new instructions from 

The difference of disposition between the two boys was 
here strikingly shown : Maurice, the younger, naturally 
enough, availed himself of his six weeks' unexpected holi- 
days (the interchange of communications between their then 
abiding-place and the remote shores of Kerry, requiring 
that interval), to indulge in all a boy's vacation amuse- 
ments; while, on the other hand, his brother, feeling no 
relish for idleness, attended class in one of the halls at 
Louvain as a volunteer, and with such assiduity, that ere 
the arrival of letters from home, for which they were wait- 
ing, he had risen to a high place in a class of one hundred 
and twenty boys. 

Their uncle's new orders were, that they should go to St 
Oners : whither, accordingly., they proceeded, and remained 
a year — viz., from early in the year 1791, till a similar 
period of 1792 — when they were removed to the English 
college of Douay for some months. 9 

An anecdote is told of O'Connell's journey, which shows, 
were it needed to show it, how deeply the minds of Irish 
youth were impregnated with hatred for England, or rather 
with hatred for English rule. It would be well if those who 
object to such manifestations of feeling would, for one 
moment, put themselves in the place of these expatriated 

8 Memoir of O'Ccrmell, by his son, vol. i. p. 7. 



fjoys, aad ask themselves how they would have felt and 
acted had Ireland been master of England, and had Irish 
law-makers compelled the scions of England's most ancient 
houses to seek education in foreign lands, because it was 
not only denied, but even prohibited, under the most 
terrible penalties, in their own country. If such considera- 
tions were made honestly, we think Englishmen would 
lose nothing, and might gain a great deal. There is no 
possible advantage to be gained from wilful blindness to 
facts. We have heard of somewhat similar instances in 
the present day. 

As the O'Connells travelled in the diligence, a young 
Frenchman discovered, or supposed he had discovered, 
their nationality. He immediately commenced pouring out 
the most violent tirades against England. O'Connell 
seemed perfectly satisfied; and the Frenchman, astonished 
at his apathy, after talking a long time, lost patience with 
the young traveller. 

" Do you hear? Do you understand what I am saying, 

u Yes, I hear you — I comprehend you perfectly." 
" And yet you are not angry?" 
" Not in the least." 

" How can you so tamely bear the censures I pronounce 
against your country ? " 

" Sir, England is not my country. Censure her as much 
as you please — you cannot offend me. I am an Irishman, 


and my countrymen have as little reason to lov r e England 
as yours ; perhaps less." 

There is ample evidence that 0' Council distinguished 
himself at St Omers. He took the first place there in 
every class, probably owing to his proficiency in classical 
learning. The natives of Minister, and it is well known of 
Kerry and Cork in particular, were often found with Latin 
primers in their possession, and even with some fair know- 
ledge of that language, at the very time that education was 
most sternly prohibited. 1 

1 An attendant of Rinuccini, who visited Ireland as Papal Legate, in 
October 1645, has left some very interesting details on this subject in 
a MS. addressed to Count Thomas Rinuccini, but the writer is supposed 
to have been the Dean of Fernio. He gives a graphic description of 
their arrival at Kenmare — "al porto di Kilmar" — and of the warm 
reception they met from the poor, and their courtesy — " La cortesia di 
quei poveri popoli dove Mon>ignor capitd, fu incomparabile." lie also 
says : "Gran cosa, nelle montagne e luogbi rozzi, e gente povero per le 
devastazioni fatte dei nemici eretici, trovai pero la nobilta della S. fede 
Catolica, giache auro vi fu uomo, o donna, o ragazzo, ancor che piccolo 
ehe non me sapesse recitar il Pater, Ave, Credo, e i commandamenti, 
della Santa Chiesa." "It is most wonderful that in this wild and 
mountainous place, and a people so impoverished by the heretical 
enemy, I found, nevertheless, the noble influence of the holy Catholic 
faith ; for there was not a man or woman, or a child however young, 
who could not repeat the Our Father, Hail Mary, Creed, and the com- 
BLinds of Holy Church." We believe the same might be said at the 
present day of this part of Ireland. It is still as poor, and the people 
are still as well instructed in and as devoted to their faith now as in 
that century. 

A work was published in Florence, in 1844, entitled "Nunziatura in 
Wanda," di Gio. Battista Rinuccini. This work, which throws great 
light upoa the history of the period, contains a part of the Rinuccini 



It is true, indeed, that an English Protestant writer has 
recently asserted that the prohibition of education in Ire- 
land resulted either in the conformity of individuals to 
the state religion or in " happy ignorance." But this 
assertion, like many another made by those who are utterly 
ignorant, though, perhaps, not always wilfully so, of the 
subject on which they write, is simply false. The instances 
of " conformity " are indeed rare, and few have been so bold 
as to assert that these "conformities" were conversions. 
The " happy ignorance " is imaginary. If all who were 
educated in Catholic continental colleges did not exhibit 
as brilliant manifestations of intellect as O'Connell, it was 
not because their education was defective, but because 
intellectual gifts are not equally distributed. 

Maurice O'Connell must have been an educated man 
himself, or he would scarcely have been so desirous of pro- 
curing educational advantages for his nephews. He was 
by no means content with sending them to college, at 
considerable expense; while they pursued their academic 
career, he took care to inform himself of their progress ; 
and the following letter to him from the Rev. Dr Stapylton, 
the President of St Omers, is alike creditable to the boy# 

MS. This volume also contains, in the original Italian, the report 
presented by Rinuccini to the Pope on his return from Ireland. Burke 
has given some extracts from the MS. in his " Hibernia Domini cana," 
and Carte mentions it also ; but otherwise these very important docu- 
ments appear to have been quite overlooked. 



end to their self-appointed guardian. It is dated January 
1702 :-- 

" You desire to have my candid opinion respecting your 
nephews ; and you very properly remark, that no habit can be 
worse than that the instructors of youth who seek to gratify the 
parents of those under their care, by ascribing to them talents and 
qualities which they do not really possess. You add, that, being 
tn(y ilk* uncle of these young men, you can afford to hear the real 
truth respecting their abilities or deficiencies. It is not my habit 
to disguise the precise truth, in reply to such inquiries as yours. 
You shall, therefore, have my opinion with perfect candour. 

" I begin with the younger — Maurice. His manner and de- 
meanour are quite satisfactory. He is gentlemanly in his conduct; 
and much loved by his fellow-students. He is not deficient in 
abilities ; but he is idle, and fond of amusement. I do not think 
he will answer for any laborious profession ; but I will answer for 
it, that he never will be guilty of anything discreditable. At 
least, such is my firm belief. 

4i With respect to the elder, Daniel, I have but one sentence to 
write about htm, and that is, that I never was so much mistaken 
in my life as I shall be, unless he be destined to make a remark- 
able figure in society." 

M It is needless to say," observes Mr John O Connell, 11 that 
the times were as perilous for strangers, as for natives, especially 
Englith strangers ; under which designation the unhappy con- 
tinental custom (now at last beginning to be altered), of classing 
natives of Ireland abroad, caused Mr O'Connell and his brother 
to be included. They had to remain, however, at Douay, during 
several weeks of the Reign of Terror, not being able to follow the 
example of other students in going home, owing to the interruption 
and delay of communications from Ireland. During this later 
period the boys were several times insulted by the soldiery that 
passed through Douay, on their way to and from the seat of war 
on the northern frontier. On an eminence just outside the town 



are the traces of a Eoman camp, attributed to Caesar ; and here 
thirty-six thousand troops, the great majority raw boys, were for 
some time encamped, rendering residence at Douay still more 
dangerous and disagreeable. 'Little aristocrats,' 'young priests,' 
&c, were the mildest terms in which the unbridled soldiery saluted 
the boys wherever they met ; and, on one occasion, the soldiers, 
as they were marched through the town, heaped the fiercest 
execrations and insults upon them." 

O'Neill Daunt says, — The Bishop of Ardagh told me 
that a French captain of artillery said to him shortly after 
the trois jours de Juillet, 6 Some of us imagined that your 
O'Connell was born at St Omers. Ah ! if he had been a 
native of our country we should have made him king of the 

When we recollect the fate of many French kings, 
whether reigning by legal or popular right, we cannot but 
observe that O'Connell had a fortunate escape: 

A French statesman has dared to face the scepticism of 
the age, or it might be more correct to say, has anticipated 
it, by writing of " God in History." It is not fashionable to 
attribute much influence to Providence ; but we do no + 
profess or desire to follow the multitude : we would there 
fore suggest that a most merciful Providence permitted 
O'Conneli's residence in France while that unhappy country 
was being purged in the terrible furnace of self-created 
incendiarism. We cannot doubt that the impression made 
on his mind by what he saw, and still more by what he 
heard, was a powerful restraint on his conduct in after life 



and made liim dread that violent kindling of the passions 
which so surely ends in diabolic crimes. 

Note. — After the fall of Napoleon in 1814-15, and the restoration of the 
Bourbons, in the person of Louis XVIII., that monarch, as so much at- 
tached to the old recollections of his dynasty, was not unmindful of the 
Irish Brigade. Above all, he could not forget how. in 1792, he himself 
conveyed the final expression of the gratitude of his family to the repre- 
sentatives of the three last regiments of the Brigade, or those of Dillon, 
Walsh, and Berwick, with a " drapeau d'adieu," or farewell banner, 
emblematic of their national deserts, and accompanied by these words — 

"Gentlemen, — We acknowledge the inappreciable services that France 
has received from the Irish Brigade, in the course of the last 100 years ; 
services that we shall never forget, though under an impossibility of 
requiting them. Receive this standard, as a pledge of our remembrance, 
a monument of our admiration, and of our respect ; and, in future, 
generous Irishmen, this shall be the motto of your spotless flag — 

< 1692—1792/ 
'Semper et dbique fidelis.'" 

The banner for the Brigade represented an Irish harp, and was em- 
broidered with shamrocks and fleurs-de-lis, or lilies. In 1814, the 
officers of the Old Irish Brigade in France requested the Duke of Fitz- 
James to present them to the king ; which request the Duke, after 
thanking them for the honour thereby done him, complied with, in 
these few words, " which are a summary of the Irish character, in all 
its chivalrous sublimity ■ says my French authority — 

"Sire, — I have the honour of presenting to your Majesty the sur- 
vivors of the Old Irish Brigade. These gentlemen only ask for a sword, 
and the privilege of dying at the foot of the throne." 

Louis, however, was too deeply indebted to England for the recovery of 
his crown, to do anything directly opposed to the wishes of her govern- 
ment, and it particularly pressed upon him, through Lord Castlereagh, that 
thers should be no restoration of an Irish Brigade in France. " This 
fact is certain," alleges a contemporary in 1814, " and very uncommon 
exertions must have been used to procure this concession from Louis ; 
because, independent of the general claims of this body on the gratitude 
of the French monarchy, one of these regiments had received a promise 



from the present king — that, in the event of his restoration, the regi- 
ment, for its fidelity, should be promoted to the rank of the Guards of 
the King." 

I have now only to conclude with notices of two venerable survivors, 
for many years, of the gallant corps to which they belonged — the one, an 
officer of equally high rank and merit — the other, the last who died on 
the Continent. 1. Of the former survivor of the old Brigade, who was 
uncle to the celebrated Daniel O'Connell, this memoir from a member 
of the family, is given, with some slight alterations and compression : — 
"General Daniel Count O'Connell, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of 
the Holy Ghost, and Colonel of the late 6th Eegiment of the Irish 
Brigade in the British service, entered the French army at the age of 
14, in the year 1757, as second Lieutenant in the Eegiment of the Irish 
Brigade, commanded by, and called after, the Earl of Clare. He was 
the youngest of twenty-two children, of one marriage, and was born in 
August 1473, at Darrynane, in the County of Kerry, the residence of hi? 
father, Daniel O'Connell. His education had, at that early period, been 
confined to a thorough knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages — a 
knowledge which he preserved to the latest period of his life — and to a 
familiar acquaintance with the elements of the mathematics. He served 
his first campaign during the Seven Years' War in Germany, and became 
respected by his superior officers, from his strict attention to all his 
military duties, and beloved by all his companions, from the unaffected 
grace, gaiety, and generosity of his disposition. At the conclusion of the 
war, instead of devoting the hours of peace to idleness or pleasure, he 
dedicated them, with the closest attention, to the study of literature 
generally, but especially to that of the branches of military engineering, 
He was attached to the Corps du Genie in its early formation, and soon 
became known to be one of the most scientific of the military engineers 
of France. He distinguished himself at the siege and capture of Port 
Mahon, in Minorca, from the English, in the year 1779, being at that 
time Major in the Regiment of Royal Swedes. He received public 
thanks for his services on that occasion, and a recommendation, from 
the Commander-in-Chief to the Minister of War, for promotion. That 
promotion he immediately obtained, and served at the siege of Gibraltai 
in the year 1782, as Lieutenant-Colonel of his Regiment, the Royal 
Swedes, but attached to the corps of engineers. Everybody remembers 
the attack made by the floating batteries on Gibralt ar on the 13th 


September 1782, and the glorious and triumphant resistance of the 
English garrison, under General Elliott. Lieutenant-Colonel O'Connell 
was one of the three engineers to whose judgment the plan of attack was 
submitted, a few days before it was carried into effect. He gave it, as 
his decided opinion, that the plan would not be successful. The* other 
two engineers were of a contrary opinion, and the attack took place 
accordingly. The event justified his judgment. Upon a point of 
honour recognised in the French army, he claimed a right to share the 
perils of an attack, which was resolved upon against his opinion. When 
the attempt to storm Gibraltar was resolved on, it became necessary to 
procure a considerable number of marines, to act on board the floating 
batteries. For this purpose, the French infantry was drawn up, and 
being informed of the urgency of the occasion, a call was made for volun- 
teers, amongst the rest, of course, from the Royal Swedes. Lieutenant- 
Colonel O'Connell's regiment was paraded, and the men having been 
informed that he was to be employed on the service, the battalion stepped 
forward to one man, declaring their intention to follow their Lieutenant- 
Colonel. It so happened that the senior Lieutenant-Colonel, the Count 
De Ferzen, then well known as 1 le beau Ferzen/ and towards whom 
it was more than suspected that Marie Antoinette entertained feelings of 
peculiar preference, had arrived from Paris, but a short time before, to 
join the regiment, which since his appointment he had scarcely seen. 
Attributing the enthusiasm of the men to his appearance, he rode up, 
and assured them, that he would be proud to lead them. A murmur of 
disappointment passed along the line ; and, at length, some of the older 
soldiers ventured to declare, that it was not with him they volunteered, 
but with the other Lieutenant-Colonel, who had always commanded, and 
always protected them. With a generosity which does him honour, 
Ferzen immediately declared, that he would not attempt to deprive 
Colonel O'Connell of the honour he so well deserved ; but that, in making 
way for him, he would say, that he hoped, when the regiment knew so 
much of him, they would be equally ready to follow him. Colonel 
O'Connell was named second in command of one of the floating batteries, 
and this battery was among the first to come into action. He had, in tha 
early part of the fight, a portion of his ear taken off by a ball ; about the 
period when the batteries began to take fire, a shell from the English 
mortars burst close to his feet, and severely wounded him in no lesi 
than nin i places. Although almost covered with wounds, his recovery 



was not slow, and, being placed high on the list of those recommended 
&r promotion, he was, in the ensuing year, appointed Colonel comman- 
dant of a German regiment of two battalions of 1000 men each, then in 
the French service, but belonging to the Prince of Salm-Salm. The 
regiment, when Colonel O'Connell got the command, was in the most 
lamentable state of disorganisation and indiscipline ; and it was an- 
nounced to him, by the French Minister of War, that cr*.e reason for 
giving him that regiment was the expectation, that he would remedy all 
its disorders. Nor was that expectation disappointed. There was, in 
1787, a grand review of upwards of 50,000 French infantry in Alsace, 
and it was admitted, that the Regiment of Salm-Salm was the regiment 
in the highest state of discipline in the whole camp, and its Colonel re^ 
ceived public thanks on that account. He was soon after appointed to 
the high and responsible office of Inspector-General of all the French 
Infantry, and he attained also the rank of General Officer. In this 
capacity he was intrusted with the organisation of the general code 
of military discipline, especially as relating to the interior regimental 
arrangements ; and as his suggestions and book of regulations were 
adopted into the French armies after the Revolution, and imitated by 
other nations, the advantages derived from them are still felt by every 
army in Europe. We have thus traced his career from his entrance in 
the French service as a second Lieutenant. From that rank, unaided by 
any interest, without a pation, or a friend, save those lie attached to 
himself by his virtues, he rose to the command of a splendid regiment, 
and to a rank but little below the highest in the service of France ; and 
he attained that station, at a time when the bigotry of the Penal Code 
precluded him from holding the most insignificant commission in the 
British army. Still more brilliant prospects lay before him ; but the 
French Revolution, overturning thrones and altars, obliterated from the 
recollection the fate of private individuals, in the absorbing nature of 
national interests which that mighty movement involved. He was, it 
may be well said, stripped of his fame and fortunes by that Revolution ; 
but he might have retained both if he could sacrifice his principles, 
because both Dumourier and Carnot pressed him, more than once, to 
accept the command of one of the revolutionary armies. He totally 
declined any such command, feeling it a duty to remain near the person 
of Louis XVL, and to share, as he did, some of his greatest perils in the 
days of tumult and anarchy, until that ill-fated, but weU-meaning, 



monarch was hurled from his throne, and cast into prison. Unable any 
longer to serve the Bourbon cause in France. General O'Connell joined 
the French Princes at Coblentz, and made the disastrous campaign of 
1792. under the Duke of Brunswick, as Colonel of the Hu-sars do 
Berchinv. In 1703, General O'Connell was, on his return to his family 
in Kerry, detained in London, with other French officers, by the British 
Government, to lay and digest plans for the restoration of the Bourbon 
family. Upon this occasion, he sent in apian for the campaign of 1791, 
which attracted so much attention, that Mr Pitt desired an interview, 
and received with thanks many elucidations of the plan." Soon after, 
the Ministry, having determined to form an Irish Brigade of six regi- 
ments in the British service, " this determination was carried into effect, 
and one of those regiments was placed under the command of General 
O'Connell. It stipulated that the Colonels should not be raised to 
the rank of Generals in the British service, but should receive full pay 
for life.* General O'Connell, during the peace of 1S02, returned to 
France, to look after a large property, to which his lady was entitled ; 
he became a victim of the seizure of British subjects by the then First 
Consul ; and remained a prisoner in France until the downfall of 
Napoleon, and the restoration of the Bourbons. That event restored 
him to his military rank in France ; and he enjoyed, in the decline of 
life, amidst the atFectionate respect of his relations and friends, the 
advantage of full pay, as General in the service of France, and Colonel 
in the service of Great Britain— an advantage which circumstances can, 
perhaps, never again produce for any man ; but which he enjoyed with 
the lull knowledge and approbation of both powers. During the peace 
of 1814, General O'Connell met Marshal Ney at dinner, at the house of 
one of the then Ministry. A good deal of conversation passed between 
them, and at length Ney stated, that he had known General O'Connell 
before the Revolution, and mentioned in particular having frequently 
seen him in the year 1787. " My memory," replied the General, " is 
particularly good ; I have seen few officers whom I do not recollect, and 
I do not think I could have seen a person so likely to be remarkable aa 
Marshal Ney, without recollecting him." "General," returned Ney, 
"you could not have remarked me ; you then commanded the regiment 
of Salm-Salm ; I was a corporal of hussars ; our Colonel and you were 
fast friends, and frequently exchanged guards ; and I have often, as 
corporal, posted and relieved the hussar sentinel on your tent, while one 



of your corporals was going through the same duty at my Colonel's." 
The Revolution of 1830 deprived him, however, of his pay as French 
General. He refused to take the oath of fidelity to Louis Philippe, and 
was, of course, destituted. He retired to the country seat of his son-in- 
law, at Maclon, near Blois — a beauteous spot on the Loire, which he 
had himself ornamented in the most exquisite style of English planting 
— and there, in his declining health, he waited with resignation the call 
of his God, which occurred on the 9th of July, 1833, he having then 
nearly completed his 90th year, and being the oldest Colonel in the 
English service. " He had never, in the season of his prosperity, for- 
gotten his country, or his God. Loving that country, with the strongest 
affection, he retained, to the last, the full use of her native language ; 
and, although master of the Spanish, Italian, German, Greek, and Latin, 
as well as French and English languages, it was, to him, a source of the 
greatest delight, to find any person capable of conversing with him in 
the pure Gaelic of his native mountains. There never lived a more 
sincere friend — a more generous man. His charities were multiplied 
and continuous ; and it was the surprise of all who knew him, how ha 
could afford to do all the good he did to his kind. He was, all his life, 
a practical Catholic, and had the comfort of dying, without a pang, 
amidst all the sacred and sweet consolations of that religion, which he 
had not forgotten in his youth, and which did not abandon him in tha 
days of darkness and death. — Requuscat in pace" 

(fjapttr Bttnito. 

1 7 90- 1 800. 


*Q r uT has been more than once 
suggested that tlie Irish Re- 
P bell ion of 179S was inspired 
<pb bv the French Revoluiion, 
which synchronised with it. 
That some of the leaders of revolt in 
Ireland did look to France for assist- 
ance is a matter of history ; but no two 
public events could have been more dissimilar in 
cause and in effect than the Irish Rebellion and 
the French Revolution. 

In Ireland the people rebelled against the re- 
lentless persecutors of their faith ; in France, the 
nation trampled on and defiled even the very 
symbols of their religion. In Ireland, the out- 
rages which were committed bv the rebels, how- 


ever, would have been considered simply as unjustifiable 
reprisals for atrocities which cannot be denied, and which 
cannot be excused, had the perpetrators not been Irish. The 
French Revolution was a revolt against all authority ; the 
Irish Rebellion was the cry of the oppressed against the op- 
pressor, the cry of the enslaved for freedom, the effort which 
must be made sooner or later, with failure or with success, 
as God wills, for those who have suffered long and unjustly. 

In France, the first assembling of the tiers Stat looked 
like a pledge of national restoration and national freedom; 
but France had no definite aim, though, in truth, its wants 
were many, and France had no master mind to explain or 
rather to comprehend its needs. Mirabeau, indeed, had 
foretold its future with the prophetic utterance of keen 
worldly wisdom and acute self-interest : " There is but 
one step from the Capitol to the Tarpeian Rock." It was 
true. But unhappily the few who strove to find a place 
in its Capitol also sought to govern, and failing, were 
dashed to ruin down the steep precipice of popular odium ; 
there were thousands who never sought to rule, who only 
desired to be ruled justly, and yet, for them also, the end 
was death and agony. 

If the leaders of the French Revolution steeped their 
unhappy country and their own souls in crime and misery, 
they were, at least, men with a policy, with a policy of 
cruelty like Robespierre, with a policy of selfishness like 
Dan ton ; but in Ireland there was not a single man with a 



policy. Yet the leaders of Irish revolt were undoubtedly 
men who sacrificed their own interests to the popular cause. 

There were exceptions, but they were exceptions, and 
only proved the rule. In all revolutions there never was 
ft knight, so pure and without reproach, so single-minded 
in his purpose, so disinterested in his efforts, as the 
young scion of the lordly house of Fitzgerald, the young 
noble, sans peur et sans reproche, the victim of the traitor, 
who died, loving, not wisely, but all too well the unhappy 
land to which he belonged by right of consignment rather 
than bv right of nativity. 

The only strict parallel between the state of France 
and the state of Ireland at the clo<e of the last century can 
be found in the condition of the people. The leaders of the 
French Revolution would not have succeeded unless they 
had been supported by the people. We are far from de- 
siring to maintain the vox populi vox Dei principle. The 
voice of the people is not always divine, but the voice of 
the people should at least meet with a patient hearing from 
those who govern the people. 

Jf the voice of the people had been heard either in France 
or in Ireland, or rather if the voice of the people had been 
listened to patiently, and if men who professed themselves 
able ta guide and govern the people had taken some little 
pains to understand that voice, a h) )ody chapter of Euro- 
pean history might have remained unwritten. 

In France, a certain stereotyped nobility was neces- 



siary for personal or professional advancement. In Ireland 
that advancement depended on the profession of a certain 
religions belief. The results were almost the same. 

In France, the peasantry were sold like cattle with the 
soil; in Ireland, they were legally transferred. 

In France, the old ties of feudal affection, if such, affec- 
tion had ever existed, which we very much doubt, were 
shattered by ever increasing exactions ; in Ireland, where 
such affection had existed, it was weakened past recal by 
indifference and tyrannical bondage of opinion. 

In Ireland, the people knew no king. The king of Eng- 
land was indeed nominally their monarch, but he was not 
the monarch of their affections. He was the grim, stern, 
and alas ! vindictive lawgiver. He was the power from 
whence emanated the decrees of life and death ; from whom 
they were compelled to receive a religion of which they 
knew nothing, except that it was not the religion of their 
fathers, and laws which seemed to have been passed only 
that they might live to provide abundance for their legis- 
lators while they themselves were starving. 2 

2 Again, I would give English opinion on the subject of English 
policy. No Irish writer has ever spoken half as severely on thia 
subject as an English statesman. In 1793, Charles James Foi 
writes thus of English foreign policy : " Our conduct to them [the 
Americans] as well as to the Danes, Swedes, Duke of Tuscany, and 
others who wished to be neutral, has been insufferable, both for arro- 
gance and injustice." — Memorial and Correspondence of Charles Janus 
Fox, vol. iii., p. 47. 

" For many a long year, the history of Ireland is but a melanchol/ 



If Lonis the Fourteenth of France alienated the affec- 
tions of his people by his indifference, George the Third 
of England was practically unknown to his Irish subjects. 
Yet terrible as were the wrongs of Ireland, and oppressed 
as they were by years of injustice, we believe few will 
say that the most exasperated Irish rebel would have 
imbrued his hands in the blood of his king. 

There was indeed one part of France which was exempted 
from the crimes, though not from the sufferings of the 
Revolution. A brief glance at the causes which exempted 
it may be useful to our future ; and it is surely instructive. 
The luxuries of the capital had not penetrated into the 
Vendean provinces, and, what was almost the inevitable 

recital of religious intolerance and party vindictiveness. "William 
sanctioned the outlawry of three thousand nine hundred and twenty 
followers of King James in Ireland, at a time when but fifty-four 
people in England suffered for the same offence ; and, taking advantage 
of the consequent forfeitures of land, which amounted to 1,000.792 
acres, he lavishly distributed them amongst his immediate friends. This 
act was too gross not to attract attention ; and the English Parliament, 
in 1G99, appointed commissioners to inquire into the matter. The 
following year, they reported to the House that Elizabeth Yiiliers. 
Countess of Orkney, had obtained 97,049 acres ; Keppel, created Lord 
Albemarle, 108,000 ; Ginckle, Baron of Aughrim and Earl of Athlone, 
28,4S0 : Henri de Massue, Marquis de Rouvigny, created Earl of Gal- 
way, 30.1 18 acres ; Bentinck, Earl of Portland and Lord Woodstock, 
135,000. In consequence of this report a Bill of Assumption was intro- 
duced into the English Parliament, and passed, muck to the discomfiture 
ot William ; and it is worthy of observation that a clause was inserted 
in this Act especially protecting such of the Irish as had re-obtained 
estates in accordance with the treaty of Limerick, although it was stated 
by the commissioners that many of these restitutions had been corruptly 



consequence, the relationships between the governed and 
the governing classes were based on principles of justice. 
The proprietors were resident. " They were constantly 
engaged in connections either of mutual interest, or of 
kindly feeling with those who cultivated their lands." 
They sympathised with the people when they wept, they 
rejoiced with them when they rejoiced. Thus, when the 
peasantry elsewhere in France rose up against their land- 
lords, those of La Vendee died in defending theirs. 

In Ireland in the far south, in the yet farther west, there 
were a few such landlords, and as a necessary consequence 
a few such faithful followers ; but for them the antagonism 
was bitter, and the result misery to both oppressor and 

procured. The Irish Parliament, however, was not so impartial. 
Taking advantage of the dispirited condition of the Eoman Catholics, it 
enacted statutes against them from time to time, as insulting as they 
were oppressive. Any lands, tenements, or hereditaments, of which any 
Protestant was, or should be, seized in fee -simple, absolute, or fee-tail, 
which by the death of such Protestant or his wife ought to have 
descended to his son, or other issue in tail, being Papists, were to 
descend to the nearest Protestant relation, as if the Popish heir and 
other Popish relatives were dead. The small remnant of the Roman 
Catholic gentry mustered courage enough to demand to be heard by 
counsel against the provisions of the Act, which privilege being granted 
to them, we find the curious picture of Papist counsel quoting Scripture 
and the right of common law at the bar of a Protestant Parliament, to 
urge upon it the necessity of observing solemn treaties, and of not pass- 
ing enactments which would have disgraced a pagan state." — Ireland 
under British Rule. By Lieut.-Col. Jervis, R A., M.P. London, 1868, 
pp. 210-215. 


It was an axiom of Sally's that the people never revolt 
from fickleness or the mere desire of change. One of the 
most eminent of English historians has approved this 
maxim, bat with a necessary qualification,* and he might 
have added that the intensity of the result would be gene- 
rally proportional to the intensity of the cause. 

Burke described the state of France as " perfectly simple." 
M It consists," he said, " of but two classes, the oppressors 
and the oppressed ; and if the oppressed became in turn the 
most cruel of oppressors, it was because the first oppressors 
had made the priests and the people formally abjure the Divi- 
nity, and had estranged them from every civil, moral, and 
social, or even natural and instinctive sentiment, habit, and 
practice, and had rendered them systematically savages." 

It was principally this formal " abjuration of the Divinity" 
which made the most striking difTerence between the con- 
duct of the French and Irish revolutionists, and it is not 
a little remarkable, that the men who were most earnest in 
their efforts to procure French assistance for Ireland, were. 
I will not say Protestants, though they were nominally 
inch, but rather infidels. 

When Daniel and Maurice O'Connell sailed from France, 

1 " Subsequent events have not falsified the maxim of Sully, though 
they have shown that it requires modification. The observation, more- 
over, is true only in reference to the circumstances of revolutionary 
troubles. The people over a whole country never pass from a state oi 
quiescence to one of trouble without the experience of practical griev- 
ances. "—Alison's Eiiiorxj of Europe, vol. i. p. 03. 


the two STieares were their fellow-travellers. It was the 
same packet-boat which brought over the intelligence that 
the unfortunate Louis had died like a king, if he had not 
lived 4 like one. 

The murder of the king was necessarily the one subject of 
conversation. The Sheares were communicative. They had 
been in Paris at the time, and they loudly proclaimed their 
approval of the popular fury. An English gentleman con- 
tinued the subject, and at last, the brothers boasted that they 
had actually been present when the deed of blood was done. 

4 Perhaps the one only seene in the life of this unhappy monarch io 
which he showed anything like kingly dignity, was that which occurred 
on the 20th of June 1792. Sansterre and the Marquis de Huen had 
burst into the royal presence at the head of an infuriated mob. The 
men shouted " Ca ira," and amongst other banners of a horrible and 
blasphemous character, they bore one with the words, " The Constitution 
or Death ! " while one demon incarnate carried a bloody calf's heart on 
the point of his pike, with the inscription round it, " The heart of an 
aristocrat." Louis was placed on a chair, which had been raised on a 
table, by a few of his faithful attendants, while the mob raged, howling 
and dancing through the palace. He alone remained unmoved. A 
drunken workman handed him the red cap of liberty, fit emblem of the 
only liberty it allowed — the liberty to die, or blaspheme God. The king 
placed it on his head, and wore it for three hours. Had he hesitated fof 
a moment, he would have been stabbed to death. His heroic demean* 
our, when drinking a glass of water, which he had every reason to 
believe had been poisoned, excited the applause even of the friends who 
watched him. When at length a deputation of the Assembly arrived, 
headed by Vergniaud and Isnard, they found the king " unshaken in 
courage, though nearly exhausted by fatigue." One of the National 
Guard approached him to assure him of his devotion. " Feel," he replied, 
laying his hand on his bosom, " whether this is the beating of a heart 
agitated by fear." — Alison, vol. ii. p. 39. 



" Good heavens ! sir," exclaimed their horrified ques- 
tioner, " what could have induced you to witness so horrible 
a spectacle ! " 

" Love of the cause, sir," was the prompt reply; and, in ■ 
truth, many of the patriots who led or aided in the Irish 
Rebellion of 1798, were men like the Sheares, who had no 
personal or relative wrongs to redress, but who were im- 
pregnated with the revolutionary spirit of the day, and 
found in Ireland the field for action which their restless 
spirits desired. 6 

• The Sheares were natives of Cork, whither the younger proceeded 
in May 1798, lor the purpose of organising that county. An energetic 
co-operator in this movement was a silversmith named Conway, a native 
of Dublin. The treachery of this man was ?o artfully concealed, that 
his most intimate friends never suspected him. 

" If those who join secret societies," writes a Cork correspondent, 
u could get a peep at the records of patriotic perfidy kept in the Castle, 
they would get some insight into the dangerous consecpaences of meddling 
with them. There is a proverbial honour amongst thieves ; there seems 
to be none amongst traitors. The publication of the official correspond- 
ence about the end of the last century made some strange revelations. In 
Cork, there lived a watchmaker, named Conway, one of the directory of 
the United Irishmen there. So public and open a professor of disloyal 
sentiments was he, that on the plates of his watches he had engraved as 
a device a harp without a crown. For a whole generation this man's 
name was preserved as ' a sufferer for his country,' like his ill-fated 
townsmen, John and Henry Sheares. The 1 Cornwallis Correspond- 
ence' (vol. iii. p. 85) reveals the fact that Conway was a double-dyed 
traitor ; that he had offered to become a secret agent for detecting the 
leaders of the United Irishmen, and that the information he gave was 
very valuible, particularly as confirming that received from a solicitor 
in Belfast, who, whilst acting as agent and solicitor to the disaffected 
party, was betraying their secrets to the executive, and earning, in hu 



The Sheaves were so exultant and certain of success 
that they took little pains to conceal their project; a 
curious example of the fatuity of those engaged in the 
" secret society," which they were so desirous of pro- 
moting. The very quickness of the passage was made a 
subject of remark, and taken as omen of success, for they 
had been twice wrecked on previous voyages, once when 
crossing to France, and once when crossing between 
Dublin and Parkgate. 

But if O'Oonnell was a pacificator in public life, it would 
appear that in his youth he had no objection to settle private 
feuds vi et armis. Some schoolboy quarrel arose at St Omers, 
and he had recourse to something stronger than moral force 
in the assertion of his rights. His fellow-student was not 
accustomed to pugilistic encounters, and said so. O'Con- 
nell inquired what he wished to fight with. " The sword, 
or pistols," replied the young Frenchman. " Then wait a 

vile role of informer, a pension, from 1799 to 1804, of £150, and the sum 
of ,£1460. the wages he received for his services." 

The Sheares, though nominally Protestants, were tinged with 
deistical ideas. " I heard it stated," observed Mr Patten, "that whe?j 
the hangman was in the act of adjusting the noose round the neck oi 
John Sheares, before proceeding to the scaffold, he exclaimed, ' D — u 
you, do you want to kill me before my time V I could not credit it, and 
asked the Rev. Dr Smith, who attended them in their last moments, ii 
the statement were correct, 4 I am sorry to say.' replied Dr Smith, ' that 
it is perfectly true. I myself pressed my hand against his mouth to 
prevent a repetition of the imprecation.'" — The Sham Squire; or, tin 
Rebellion in Inland of 1798, p. 190. By W. J. Fitzpatrick, Esq., J.P. 



moment," replied O'Connell; who left the hall only to 
return in a few moments, and offer his opponent the 
weapons he had named, begging he would take his choice, 
m it was just the same to him with what weapons he 

The French youth declined further combat, and it is said 
that no one attempted any annoyance to O'Connell during 
the remainder of his brief residence at St Omers. 

It was at one time very frequently asserted that the 
Liberator had been intended for the priesthood. This mis- 
take arose naturally from the fact of his having been 
educated at St Omers, and from ignorance of the course 
of education pursued there. The college was originally 
founded fur ecclesiastics, but there was also a separate 
foundation for secular students. 6 It is probable that the 

6 Florence Conry, Archbishop of Tuam, and founder of the Irish 
College of Louvain, was one of the first to suggest and to carry out 
the idea of supplying Irish youth with the means of education on the 
Continent, which they were denied at home. It is a fact, unexampled 
in the history of nations, that a whole race should have been thus denied 
the means of acquiring even the elements of learning, and equally un- 
exampled is the zeal with which the nation sought to procure abroad the 
advantages from which they were so cruelly debarred at home. At 
Louvain some of the most distinguished Irish scholars were educated. 
An Irish press was established within its halls, which was kept con- 
stantly employed, and whence proceeded some of the most valuable 
works of the age, as well as a scarcely less important literature for the 
people, in the form of short treatises on religion or history. Colleges 
were also established atDouay, Lisle, Antwerp, Tournay, and St Omers, 
principally through the exertions of Christopher Cusack,a learned priest 
of the diocese of Meath. Cardinal Ximenes founded an Irish College at 



misapprehension was encouraged for political purposes, 
though O'Connell took pains to contradict it on more than 
one occasion. 

In a letter published in the Dublin Evening Post, J uly 1 7, 
1828, he says; — " I was not intended for the Church. No 
mar respects, loves, or submits to the Church with more alac- 
rity than I do, but I was not intended for the priesthood." 

As O'Connell gave his opinion on the French Revolution 
very fully to Mr Daunt, and as that opinion has been re- 
corded by him, we shall do well to insert it at length. 

O'Connell was asked in the course of our after-dinner 
table-talk, " whether he had read Thiers' work on the French 

Lisbon, and Cardinal Henriquez founded a similar establishment at Evora. 
It is a remarkable evidence of tlie value which has always been set on 
learning by the Catholic Church, that even in times of persecution, when 
literary culture demanded such sacrifices, she would not admit unedu- 
cated persons to the priesthood. Before 1793 there were four colleges 
at Douay. 1st, The grand college for secular students called the 
Grands Anglais. It was purchased by the French Government in 
1820, and is now used as an artillery barracks. 2d, The Scotch Col- 
lege, now occupied by a religious order. 3d, The Irish College, which 
is completely destroyed, and the site occupied by private houses. 4th, 
The Benedictine College, which still flourishes. It was built in 1768, 
and re-opened in 1818. " The Bishop of Ardagh told me," says O'Neill 
Daunt, "that a French captain of artillery said to him shortly after the 
trois jours de Juillet, ' Some of us imagined that your O'Connell waa 
born at St Omers. Ah ! if he had been a native of our country we 
should have made him King of the French.' " Considering the 
fashion in which kings are made and unmade by our continental 
neighbours, we think O'Connell was quite as happy in having been 
born in Ireland. 



" Ye?," he replied, u and I do not very much like it. 
Thiers has a strong propensity to laud every oue who was 
successful, and to disparage those who did not succeed. 
The hest account of the French Revolution is in one cf the 
volumes of Marmontel's 4 Memoirs.' Certainly," continued 
he, " that Revolution was grievously needed, although it 
was bought at the price of so much blood ! The ecclesi- 
astical abbes were a great public nuisance; they were 
chiefly cadets of noble families, who were provided for with 
sinecure revenues out of the abbey lands. The nobility 
engrossed the commissions in the army ; and both the 
clergy and the nobility, although infinitely the richest 
bodies in the state, were exempt from taxes. The people 
were the scapegoats — they were taxed for all ; the burdens 
of the state were all thrown upon them, whilst its honours 
and emoluments were monopolised by the untaxed. This 
was a gro<s wrong — the Revolution has swept it away. It 
was highly creditable to the fidelity of the French Catholic 
clergy, that so few of them joined the enemies of religion 
at that trying time of error. I question whether a dozen 
of the French Catholic bishops apostatised ; and as for the 
vast mass of the parochial clergy, they afforded a most 
glorious and sublime example of devotion and faithfulness. 
Catholicity, I trust, will rebound against French Infidelity, 
as she is daily doing against English sectarianism." 

He then spoke of an article in the Edinburgh Review, and 
expressed his satisfaction that the writer was com) jelled to 



admit that "the Catholic religion is perennial and immor- 
tal ; and as vivacious in the nineteenth century of her 
existence, as she was the day of her first institution." 

O'Connell's abhorrence of anything which tended to 
undermine religious influence showed itself repeatedly in 
his conversations. The account which he himself gave of 
his interview with the secularist Owen is worth recording 
here as an evidence of this. 

" ' Owen called upon me/ said he, ' and told me he had 
come for my co-operation in a work of universal benevo- 
lence.' I replied that ' I should always be happy to aid 
such a work.' ' I expected no less from your character, 
Mr O'Conuell,' said Owen. ' Would not you wish — I am 
sure you would — to elevate the condition of the whole hu- 
man race?' 'Certainly, Mr Owen,' replied I. 4 Would 
not you wish to see a good hat on everybody?' ' Un^ 
doubtedry.' 'And good shoes?' ' Oh, certainly.' 'And 
good trousers ? ' ' Unquestionably.' ' And would not 
you desire to see the whole family of man well housed 
and fed ? ' ' Doubtless. But, Mr Owen, as my time is 
much taken up, may I beg that you will proceed at once 
to point out how all these desirable objects are, in 
your opinion, to be worked out?' 'In the first place, 
Mr O'Connell," said Owen, ' we must educate anew the 
population of these kingdoms, and entirely remove the 
crust of superstitious error from their minds. In fact, the 
whole thing, called Revealed Religion, must be got rid of.' 



I thought my worthy visitor was going too far. I rose and 
bowed him out. 6 I wish you a very good morning, Mr 
Owen,' said I, ' it would he useless to prolong our inter- 
view. I see at once that you and I cannot co-operate in 
any work or under any circumstances.' " 

In 1794 O'Connell entered as a student in Lincoln's Inn, 
London. He lodged at first in a court on the north side of 
Coventry Street. Fifty years after, as he passed hy the 
place, he called the attention of a friend to a fishmonger's 
shop, saying, " That shop is precisely in the same state in 
which I remember it when I was at Gray's Inn. It has 
the same-sized window, the same frontage, and I believe 
the same fish!" While residing here, he followed his 
private occupation of writing, but his taste for a country 
life induced him to make a change of residence in 1795. 
He thus describes his new abode in a letter to his brother- 
Maurice : — 

" I am now only four miles from town, and pay the same price 
for board and lodging as I should in London ; but I enjoy many 
advantages here (in Chiswick) besides sir and retirement. The 
society in the house is mixed — I mean composed of men and 
women, all of whom are people of rank and knowledge of the 
world ; so their conversation and manners are perfectly well 
adapted to rub off the dust of scholastic education ; nor is there 
any danger of riot or dissipation, as they are all advanced in life, 
another student of law and I being the only young persons in the 
house. This young man is my most intimate acquaintance, and 
the only friend I have found among my acquaintance. His name 
is Bennett. He is an Irishman of good family connections and 



fortune. He is prudent and strictly economical. He has good 
sense, ability, and application. I knew him before my journey to 
Ireland. It was before that period our friendship commenced. 
So that on the whole I spend my time here not only pleasantly, 
but I hope very usefully. 

" The only law books T have bought as yet are the works of 
Espinasse on the trials of nisiprius. They cost me £1, 10s. ; and 
contain more information on the practical part of the law than any 
other books I have ever met. When in Dublin I reflected that 
carrying any more books than were absolutely necessary would be 
incurring expense ; so I deferred buying a complete set of reports 
until my return thither. 

" I have now two objects to pursue — the one, the attainment of 
knowledge ; the other, the acquisition of those qualities which 
constitute the polite gentleman. I am convinced that the former, 
besides the immediate pleasure that it yields, is calculated to raise 
me to honours, rank, and fortune ; and I know that the latter 
serves as a general passport : and as for the motive of ambition 
which you suggest, I assure you that no man can possess more of 
it than I do. I have indeed a glowing and — if I may use the 
expression — an enthusiastic ambition, which converts every toil 
into a pleasure and every study into an amusement. 

" Though nature may have given me subordinate talents, I never 
will be satisfied with 8 subordinate situation in my profession. 
No man is able, I am aware, to supply the total deficiency of ability; 
but everybody is capable of improving and enlarging a stock, 
however small and, in its beginning, contemptible. It is this 
reflection that affords me consolation. If I do not rise at the bar, 
I will not have to meet the reproaches of my own conscience. It 
is not because I assert these things now that I should conceive 
myself entitled to call on you to believe them. I refer that con- 
viction which I wish to inspire to your experience. I hope — nay, 
I flatter myself — that when we meet again the success of my efforts 
fco correct those bad habits which you pointed out to me will be 



apparent Indeed, as for my knowledge in the professional line, 
that cannot he discovered for some years to come ; but I have time 
in the interim to prepare myself to appear with great £clat on the 
grand theatre of the world." 

At this; period of O'Connell's life he was undoubtedly a 
Tory. His account of his conversion to Liberal opinions is 
both curious and instructive, and it explains an intellectual 
and moral difficult}' which has perplexed many English 

The Catholic Church has always been conservative both 
in principle and in practice ; but because it has always set 
its face steadfastly against individual and public abuses, 
because it has always taken the part of the oppressed 
against the oppressor, its policy has been misrepresented 
by those who desire to exercise arbitrary power unchecked, 
and misunderstood by those who are too indifferent or too 
prejudiced to reason calmly. 

And yet one of the most eminent English Protestant 
historians has admitted this truth, has proclaimed it, has 
asserted it. The historian of the French Revolution writes 
thus : — 

" It was the Christian Church, the parent of so many lofty 
doctrines and new ideas, which had the glory of offering to the 
world, amidst the wreck of ancient institutions, the model of a 
form of government which gives to all classes the right of suffrage, 
by establishing a system which may embrace the remotest in- 
terests, which preserves the energy and avoids the evils of de- 
mocracy, which maintains the tribune, and shuns the strife of the 


"The Christian councils were the first examples of representative 
assemblies ; there were united to the whole Roman world there 
a priesthood, which embraced the civilised earth, assembled by- 
means of delegates to deliberate on the affairs of the universal 
Church. When Europe revived, it adopted the same model. Every 
nation by degrees borrowed the customs of the Church, to berth© 
sole depository of the traditions of civilisation. 

" It was the religion of the vanquished people, and the clergy 
who instructed them in this admirable system, which flourished 
in the councils of Nice, Sardis, and Byzantium, centuries before it 
was heard of in Western Europe, and which did not arise in the 
woods of Germany, but in the catacombs of Rome, during the 
sufferings of the primitive Church." 7 

The Catholic is conservative by religious belief ; but by 
conservatism, he understands the protection and the pre- 

7 Alison's History of Europe, vol. iii. p.. 1 76. — Elsewhere he says : " The 
councils of the Church had, so early as the sixth century, introduced 
over all Christendom the most perfect system of representation. . . . 
Every Christian priest, however humble his station, had some share in 
the practice of these great assemblies, by which the general affairs of 
the Church were to be regulated." In truth this system of conserva- 
tive and representative government has continued in the Catholic 
Church with unbroken regularity from the first council at Antioch, where 
there was " much disputing " until Peter spoke, until the last council 
at Rome, where there was also much disputing until the voice of 
the Church spoke through the majesty of her pastors. Even the infidel 
Voltaire admitted that the Popes restrained princes, and protected the 
people. The Bull In Ccena Domini contained an excommunication 
against those who should levy new taxes upon their estates, or should 
increase those already existing beyond the bounds of right. For further 
information on this subject, see Balmez, European Civilisation, passim. 
M. Guizot says : " She [the Church] alone resisted the system of castes ; 
she alone maintained the principle of equality of competition ; she alone 
called all legitimate superiors to the possession of power.'— Hist. Cou 
de la Civilization en Europe, Lect. 5. 



■Oration of right, the pr Section of human nature against 
itself by the enforcement of divine law. 

How much, how often, and how severely Catholics have 
suffered for conservative principles, let history relate. In 
[reland they were faithful to the most faithless of monarchs. 
In England they were faithful to the most thankless, and 
one of the most unworthy of kings ; and this not from 
any preference for the foolish James, or the wanton 
Charles, but simply from active belief in the divine principle, 
u Render to Caesar the things that are Ca?sar's," from the 
divine principle of eternal right and justice. It may be 
objected, it has been objected, that Catholics have rebelled 
against their temporal sovereign, and the Irish Rebellion 
will be quoted as an evidence that Catholics can be, and 
have been, not only democratic, but even infidel. The 
exception proves the rule. Catholics have never rebelled 
against any temporal sovereign, unless such rebellion has 
Iteen justified by the necessity for the conservation of the 
power of One higher than any earthly monarch; and such 
re>i>tances to any lawful constituted human rule have 
been rare.* 

In France it was not Catholics, but those who had long 

? It 13 difficult to induce some persons to consider any such question 
calmly and dispassionately. Englishmen who think at all on the subject, 
are generally loud in their assertions of Irish disloyalty. Now there u 
a very wide difference between loyalty to a sovereign and approbation 
ot all bis acts, or the acts performed by bis government. Every English 
monarch who has ruled Ireland has been treated with respect, and 


ceased to be Catholics, who were guilty of regicide, and 
of crimes whose atrocity shocked the whole civilised world. 
The men who dragged Louis XYI. to the scaffold, openly 
renounced all religious belief. The men who murdered 
Charles made a pitiful boast of their religion. 9 

In England, except during times of special persecution^ 
which were comparatively rare, Catholics did not suffer 
from political or legal injustice. It is true, indeed, that 
they were denied the rights of citizens, but they were- 
tolerated, especially when heavy fines could be obtained 
to replenish the coffers of needy or licentious monarchs. 
The fewness of their number protected them, and what was 

even those Irish papers which write most strongly on the subject of 
English misgovern ment, invariably respect the person of the sovereign. 
When the English nation rebelled against James II., he took refuge 
in Ireland ; how he repaid Irish loyalty is but too well known and 
remembered in Ireland. 

9 In France, though many of the clergy were corrupted by the deluge 
of evil which inundated the land, where, and because, all religious 
interests were withdrawn, there were yet a much larger number who 
were faithful. " The clergy in France were far from being insensible 
to the danger of this flood of irreligion which deluged the land." — Ali- 
son's History of Europe, vol. i., page 89. Again, "In a general assembly 
of the clergy, held in 1770, the most vigorous resistances against the 
multiplication of irreligious works were made. 1 Impiety,' they said " ia 
making inroads alike on God and man ; it will never be satisfied till it 
has destroyed every power, divine and human.'" — page 87. ''It is a 
remarkable proof how completely ignorant the most able persons in 
Europe were of the ultimate effects of this irreligious spirit, that the 
greatest encouragement which the sceptical philosophy of France received 
was from the despots of the north — Frederick the Great, and the Em- 
press Catherine." — page 88. 



of still more importance, united them. The very hopeless- 
ness of success, if they attempted to interfere in public 
affairs, kept them silent. Agitation would have been worse 
than imprudent, and they had so long learned to keep silence, 
to submit, to live apart from their fellows, to believe peace 
to be the one thing above all others to be desired, that they 
at last came to believe any demand for redress to be 
dangerous, if not positively wrong ; and any agitation to 
be imprudent to the highest degree, if not positively 

Hence the English Catholics, and especially the English 
Catholics of the upper classes, were necessarily conservative, 
and hence also many Irish Catholics of the upper classes, 
from association or intermarriage with English Catholics, 
became conservative also. Their few dependants believed 
as they believed, and thought as they thought. They 
also intermarried with each other, and lived apart, and they 
also feared all change, because, as a general rule, change 
was productive of evil. 

But with the great mass of Irish Catholics, with, in 
fact, all of the middle or poorest class who thought, there 
was little love for Conservatism. Their state was such 
until the close of the last century (and it is of that period 
we write), that however their condition might be improved 
by any change, it could scarcely be injured. 

They had none of the English Catholic traditional love 
of, or reverence for monarchy. How, indeed, could they 




have it? They were told that a certain person was king 
of England, but whether that person was a William or a 
George was quite the same to them. It was a sound and 
nothing more. 

They heard indeed the name of their king, but they 
never saw him, they never even felt his influence. A royal 
birth or death was neither a subject of grief nor sorrow. They 
heard that such events occurred, perhaps long after they had 
happened, but for all practical interest or difference which 
it made to them, the birth or the death of a New Zealander 
would have been just the same. 

But when they complained from time to time against 
injustice, or when they rebelled against it, then indeed they 
vere made to feel the power of this distant sovereign, 
cf this individual in whose name vindictive and cruel 
punishments were inflicted. Certainly they had no reason 
to uphold monarchy, to revere English law, or to desire to 
preserve English government, as it showed itself to them. 
They could not be conservative. 1 

1 When the Irish were not allowed even to rent a small piece of land, 
they called the little plot of earth which could not be denied them a 
" Protestant lease of the sod." It was in allusion to this penal law that 
the Irish rhymer made the attendants at the felon's wake sing — 

" But when dat we found him quite dead, 
In de dustcase we bundled his carcase, 
For a Protestant lease of the sod." 
—Sketches of Ireland Sixty Years Ago, p. 89. Dublin, 1847. 

Colonel Jervis says : " To hold out the bribe of the father's property 
to conforming children, brought into play every ill feelirg of which man 


The influence of the Catholic faith, and the power of the 
Catholic priesthood alone prevented the Irish Celt from 
avenging his wrongs, not indeed with the ferocity of a Com- 
munist, for the Irish Celt has no taint of cruelty in his 
nature, but with the unflinching vengeance of a Roman 

It was precisely because many English Catholics failed to 
see the difference between their own position and the posi- 
tion of their Irish brethren, that they looked eoldly upon 
(JConneirs career, that they would rather have kept their 
chains around them a little longer than have accepted release 
by the means which he used to obtain it for them. 

And yet, as we have said, O'Connell began life as a 
Conservative. His son thus describes the time and manner 
of the change : — 

is capable — impiety, ingratitude, hatred between father and son, brother 
and brother. But the penal law has never been found which could con- 
vert mankind to any one doctrine ; on the contrary, persecution breeds 
obstinacy, and the ignorant sinner becomes elevated into the proud 
martyr. Besides, in Ireland there were still no means of exemplifying 
to the masses the greater wisdom of the Church of England. The Pro- 
testant Lord Clarendon complained of the absence of the bishops in 
England, and of the disgraceful state of their dioceses. Queen Mary, as 
Lead of the Church, wrote to William when in Ireland to take care of it, 
'for everybody agrees it is the worst in Christendom.' Many years 
later the illustrious Bishop Berkeley gave a similar account. Confor- 
mity meant not a belief in Church of England doctrines, but a disbelief 
in revealed religion." — Ireland under British Rule, p. 217. No one could 
desire the conservation of such a state of government, or manifest 
attachment to it. 



" On the 21st December 1793, the day the unfortunate 
Louis was beheaded at Paris, the brothers set out in a 
voiture for Calais, which they reached early on the morning 
of the 23d ; not, however, without some parting compli- 
merits from their friends, the soldiery ; who went so far aa 
several times to strike the head of the vehicle with their 
musket stocks. The English packet-boat, aboard of which 
the boys proceeded with as little delay as possible, was pre* 
sently under weigh ; and as she passed out of the harbour, 
Mr O'Connell and his brother eagerly tore out of theii 
caps the tricolor cockades, which the commonest regard for 
personal safety rendered indispensable to be worn b} r every 
one in France ; and, after trampling them under foot, flung 
them into the sea. This boyish outburst of natural execra- 
tion of the horrors which had been committed under thai 
emblem, procured them a few of those sonorous curses which 
only a Frenchman can give, from some fishermen rowing 
past at the moment, by whom the cockades were rescued 
from the waves, and placed in their hats with all becoming 
reverence. It is not to be wondered at that Mr O'Connell 
should, when, in 1794, he became a law-student in Lincoln's 
Inn, be in a state very nearly approaching, as he has often 
said, to that of a Tory at heart. 

" So strong and ardent were these feelings, that, the cele- 
brated trial of Hardy and others having occurred about 
this time (viz., October 1794), Mr O'Connell attended it 
daily, certainly: not more for the mere interest of the thing, 



or benefit of the law arguments to him as a student, than 
for the gratification of anti-revolutionary feeling, at seeing 
a supposed offender against law and social order in a fair 
way of receiving condign punishment. 

" To llv O'Connell's astonishment, he found, ere the trial 
had proceeded far, that his sentiments were fast changing 
to those of pity towards the accused, and of something of 
self-reproach for having desired his conviction and punish- 
ment ; and, each successive day revealing more and more 
the trumped-up and iniquitous nature of the prosecution, 8 
the process of change in Mr O'Connell's mind ended by 
fully and finally converting him to popular opinions and 
principles, and confirming his natural detestation of tyranny, 
and desire of resisting it." 

Even Fox had been disgusted with this trial, and saw 
clearly the effect it would be likely to produce on the 

* This famous trial excited an immense sensation at the time. John 
Home Tooke had been, and according to English law was, a clergyman, 
having embraced the ecclesiastical state to please his father, and very 
much against his own inclination. He was educated at Eton, and 
afterwards at St John's College, Cambridge. In 1773 he studied law. 
While a student he assisted Dr William Tooke upon an enclosure-bill, 
a subject which no doubt led him to consider popular politics, or rather 
to consider politics from the people's point of view. He took up the 
American War with more energy than discretion, condemned the con- 
duct of the government, and made a subscription for the widows and 
orphans of those Americans who had been " murdered by the king's 
troops at Lexington and Concord." He was the author of the elaborate 
"Diversions of Purley." John Thelwall was also a writer of some repu- 
tation. He retired to Wales after his acquittal, and died at Bath in 1834 


public mind. He writes thus to Lord Holland, June 23, 
1794 :— 

" I think, of all the measures of Government, this last 
nonsense about conspiracy is the most mischievous, and at 
the same time the most foolish. How truly have they made 
good that parallel you drew between the Jacobins of France 
and the Crown party here! If they succeed in committing 
and hanging any of these fellows whom, they have taken 
up, it will be considered as a corroboration of the conspiracy, 
and a pretence for more extraordinary powers ; if they fail, 
as I rather think they will, then the consequence that 
always belongs to men who have been falsely accused and 
acquitted will attach to Home Tooke, Thelwall, and 
others like them, and possibly that danger which was only 
imaginary may in time become real by those wise man- 
oeuvres, which, unaccountably to me, my old friends think 
calculated to dispel it." 

The state of England at this period was scarcely less a 
subject of apprehension to public men. than the state of Ire- 
land. The most fatal and disastrous calamities might have 
happened in that country if timely concession had not been 
made. In Ireland rebellion was wilfully and advisedly 
excited. In England every reasonable effort was made to 
conciliate, This is a fact which has been completely over- 
looked in considering the history of the period, when 
studied in connection with Irish politics. 

George III. ascended thf, throne in the year 1760, 


His reign was an eventful one, but the circumstances 
which made it such were not turned to the national 
advantage. It may be questioned, indeed, whether the 
stolid Hanoverian princes were capable of a large or 
enterprising policy ; that they were capable of mistrust- 
ing ministers who were possessed of larger minds than 
their own, and of following ministers who were too 
pliant for effective service, the contemporary history of 
the period sufficiently proves. 8 

Two great events of the age, the French Revolution and the 
revolt of the American colonies, reacted on English society, 

3 Perhaps, however, some of his ministers were as much to blame for 
facility of acquiescence. Lord North's character is thus described by 
his own daughter, Lady Charlotte Lindsay : — " His character in private 
life was, I believe, as faultless as that of any human being can be ; and 
those actions of his public life which appeared to have been the most 
questionable, proceeded, I am firmly convinced, from what one must 
own was a weakness, though not an unamiable one, and which followed 
him through his life — the want of power to resist the influence of those 
he loved."— Appendix to Lord Brougham's " Historical Sketches of States- 
men who flourished in the Rei<jn of George III." Lord North was made 
Chancellor of the Exchequer in his thirty-sixth year. His parliamentary 
career commenced in 1754, and during Mr Pitt's first administration he 
•>ccupied a seat at the Treasury Board. He was removed by the Rock- 
Ingham ministry in 1765, but came into office again with Lord Chatham 
as paymaster. 

A few days only before he became Prime Minister, one of his keenest 
opponents, Mr Burke, thus described him in the House of Commons : — 
** The noble lord who spoke last, after extending his right leg a full 
yard before his left, rolling his flaming eyes, and moving his ponderous 
frame, has at length opened his mouth." — Speech of January 9, 1770, 
• ParL Hist" xvi. p. 720. 



and on English social life. The monarchs who preceded 
George III. were unpopular, partly because they were 
devoid of those personal attractions which fascinated the 
followers of the house of Stuart, and partly because they 
neither understood, nor took much pains to understand, 
cheir English subjects. 

The severity with which social crimes were punished only 
tended to increase them, and developed political agitations 
for which there was already sufficient cause. The nation 
had ceased to speak of or believe in the divine right of 
kings. The person of the sovereign was no longer an 
object of respect. This democratic tendency of thought, 
reacted upon by the revolutionary spirit of France, which 
began by denying divine right, and ended by denying 
human justice, had its culmination in England in a per- 
sonal attack on the king, of which O'Connell was an eye- 
witness. Of this attack we shall speak more fully after 
entering into the details of the circumstances which pro- 
ceded it. 

George III., however, had two advantages, of which, how- 
ever, he was unfortunate enough not to have made the most. 
He was born in England, and he had just sufficient wit to 
see that this was a claim on the fealty of his English sub- 
jects. His private life was virtuous, and formed a con- 
trast to that of the majority of his predecessors. 4 

4 " When George II. had to receive the Holy Eucharist, his main 


Unfortunately for himself, he was under the influence of 
the Earl of Bute. This influence was one which hud takeu 
its rise in his early life, and under somewhat questionahle 
circumstances. The king is said to have written his first 
speech to Parliament himself, but it was alleged that Lord 
Bute amended it, and substituted the word Briton for 
Englishman. 6 This, certainly, gratified the Scotch party, 
if it did not merit the approbation of the Tories. The 
Whigs had been fifry-five years in office, but Tory prin- 
ciples, such as they then were, suited the king, who had 
wooden ideas on the subject of royal supremacy, for it was 
not the supremacy of divine right, but the supremacy of 
a wooden, unvarying rule. 

Riots began early in this reign. The Whigs believed 
that Bute intended to undermine their power, and a beer-tax, 
of which he got the credit, made him unpopular with the 

anxiety seems to have been that the sermon on that day might be a 
short one, since otherwise he was, to use his own words, ' in danger of 
falling asleep and catching cold.' " — Lord MaJhon, Hint. v. p. 54. Bishop 
Newton says {Works, i. p. 76, ed. 1787), that he always took care in his 
sermons at Court to come within the compass of twenty minutes ; but 
after a hint as to brevity, " on the great festivals of the Church, he never 
exceeded fifteen, so that the King sometimes said to the Clerk of the 
Closet, 4 A good short sermon.' " 

5 *' I have heard it related," says Lord Mahon, iv. p. 212, " but on no 
Tery clear or certain authority, that the King hod in the first place 
written the word ' Englishman,' and that Lord Bute altered it to 
'Briton.'" The King's speech was admired by Frederick the Great.— 
Mitchell Papers, voL v. No. 201, p. 148. 


people. There was a disturbance in the play-house the 
year after the king's accession. 6 

The Bute administration lasted just ten months, and the 
Scotch lord went out of office, having made a peace which 
was unpopular because he made it, and leaving his own 
unpopularity as a bequest to his master. 

His family said that he retired from office for the sake 
of his personal safety ; his own accouut of the matter was 
that he was afraid of involving his royal master in his 
ruin. 7 

The Grenville administration followed, and the king 
found himself lectured in his closet, and snubbed in his 
most innocent pursuits. Macaulay characterised this ad- 
ministration as the worst which ever governed England 
since the Revolution. The king bore the lectures as best 

6 A few days after Lord Bute was sworn, in to the Privy Council, a 
handbill was affixed to the Royal Exchange, with these words : — " No 
petticoat government, no Scotch favourites, no Lord George Sackville." 
A joke went round the Court whether the King would have " Scotch 
coal, Newcastle coal, or Irish coal." 

7 " The alarms of Lord Bute's family about his personal safety are 
reported here to be the immediate cause of his sudden abdication." — 
Memoirs of Rockingham, vol. i. p. 165. — "Single in a Cabinet of my 
own forming ; no aid in the House of Lords to support me, except two 
Peers (Denbigh and Pomfret) ; both the Secretaries of State (Lordu 
Egremont and Halifax) silent ; and the Lord Chief Justice (Mansfield), 
whom I myself brought into office, voting for me and yet speaking 
against me — the ground I tread upon is so hollow that I am afraid not 
only of falling myself, but of involving my royal master in my ruin. 
It is time for me to retire." — Adolphus, vol. i. p. 117. See also " The 
Correspondence of George III. and Lord North, ' vol. i. p. lxxi. 



he could, but he could not get even a small sum of money 
to purchase some fields near the Queen's House. 

The Rockingham administration succeeded, and its mem- 
bers treated their sovereign " with decency and reverence 
but. Pitt could not work with them, and they could not 
work without Pitt. 

In 1763, ou the 14th of March, George III. recommended 
a proper compensation to be made to the Americans for their 
expenses in the war of 175G. Almost on that very day 
twelvemonths, Mr Grenville brought forward his unfor- 
tunate resolution (9th March 1 704), which inaugurated the 
civil war. " That towards defraying the said expenses, 
it may be proper to charge certain stamp-duties on the 
said colonies and plantations." In February 17C3, this 
resolution passed into a law. The law passed with 
little anticipation of its fatal results. Burke sat in the 
gallery listening to the speeches, and declared he never 
heard " a more languid debate." The House of Lords did 
not even trouble themselves to debate. 

The truth was that English senators looked on the 
American colonies as a dependency which they could treat 
as they pleased. They forgot that the descendants of the 
sturdy race of men who fled from England to escape 
religious and political oppression, were scarcely likely to 
submit to it in their adopted country. They forgot that 
the descendants of such men were likely to be thinkers, 
to be men who would know their own interests. 


It was a brief history certainly, but it was none the less 

The English government relied too much on the possible 
effects of their traditional reverence for that land from 
which they had expatriated themselves. That reverence 
did exist, but it was merely traditional. The moment the 
tradition was weakened by the stern logic of facts, its 
shattered links fell to the ground, and never again re- 

There were few men in England who grasped the diffi- 
culties of the case, who had sufficient intellect to look 
beyond the present, sufficient self-sacrifice to forego pre- 
sent gain when it was sure that it must be purchased at 
the cost of future loss. 

Burke indeed did his best. He warned the Government 
that they were treating with an intelligent people, and 
with a people who not only loved justice, but thoroughly 
understood law, 8 a people ' 6 who snuffed the approach of 

8 Burke, speaking of the education of the colonists, said : "I have been 
told by an eminent bookseller, that in no branch of his business, after 
tracts of popular devotion, were so many books as those on the law ex* 
ported to the plantations. The colonists have now fallen into the way 
of printing them for their own use. I hear that they have sold nearly 
as many of Blackstone's ' Commentaries ' in America as in England 
General Gage marks out this disposition very particularly in a letter on 
your table. He states that all the people in his government are lawyers, 
or smatterers in law ; and that in Boston they have been enabled, by 
successful chicane, wholly to evade many parts of one of your capital 
penal ©institutions. . . . This study renders men acute, inquisitive* 



tyranny." Chatham did his best also, but the tide had 
set in the wrong direction : and who could control an 
obstinate king, and ministers, some of whom were self-suffi- 
cient, and some of whom were self-interested? 

But the public were not satisfied with contempt for Ameri- 
can intellect. 9 There was open contempt for American 
military power, and both public and private contempt was 
heaped on Franklin, one of America's greatest men. At- 
torney-Generals have not always distinguished themselves 
by prudence, but few men who have held that position in 
England have stultified themselves or their country so 
completely as Wedderburn, one of the Solicitor-Generals 
who ruled the legal destinies of England in the reign of 
George III. 

dexterous, prompt in attack, ready in defence, full of resources. In 
other countries the people, more simple, and of a less mercurial cast, 
judge of an ill principle in government only by an actual grievance ; 
here they anticipate the evil, and judge of the pressure of the grievance 
by the badness of the principle. They augur misgovernment at a dis 
tance, and snuff the approach of tyranny in every tainted breeze." 

a In the debate of 16th March 1775, Lord Sandwich said : "The noble 
lord [Camden] mentions the impracticability of conquering America. 1 
cannot think the noble lord can be serious on this mutter. Suppose the 
colonies do abound in men, what does that signify ? They are raw, un- 
disciplined, cowardly men. I wisli that, instead of 40,000 or 50,000 of 
these half-bred fellows, they would produce in the field at least 200,000, 
the more the better, the easier would be the conquest." Then he 
related an anecdote of Sir Peter Warren, and continued, — "Believe 
me, my lords, the very sound cf a cannon will carry them, in his [Sir 
Peter's] words, as fast as their feet could carry them." — See " Life and 
Times of C. J. Fox," by Earl Russell. 



B njamin Franklin was the son of a Boston merchant. 
He began life as an apprentice tohis father's business, though 
it is said he was originally intended for the ministry in 
some religious persuasion. But the lad abhorred trade, and 
at last obtained service with his brother, a printer. After a 
time he removed to Philadelphia. Here he was noticed 
by the English governor, Sir William Keith, and it is said 
that he was deceived by him. Possibly Sir William only 
promised more than he could perform. The result was 
Franklin's removal to England as early as 1725, when he 
entered as a journeyman in the well-known and time- 
lionoured establishment of Messrs Cox & Wyman. He 
returned again to America, where be married a rich widow, 
and published the famous " Poor Richard's Almanack." 
In 1757 he was sent to England as a delegate for Penn- 
sylvania. He returned once more to his native land, and 
iu 1764 and in 1766 he was examined at the bar of the 
English House. The members were anxious to prove that 
the American colonies were contumacious, but all evidence 
goes to prove that they were not, and that they did not 
desire separation from England until they found that 
England compelled them to revolt. Franklin declared that 
" the authority of Parliament was allowed to be valid in 
all laws, except such as should lay internal taxes : that it 
was never disputed in laying duties to regulate commerce : 
that the Americans would never submit to the Stamp Act, 
or to any other tax on the same principle : that North 



America would contribute to the support of Great Britain, 
if engaged in a war in Europe." 

Washington wrote thus: — "Although you are taught 
to believe that the people of Massachusetts are rebellious, 
setting up for independency, and what not, give me leave, 
my good friend, to tell you that you are abused, grossly 
abused. This I advance with a degree of confidence and 
boldness which may claim your belief, having better oppor- 
tunities of knowing the real sentiments of the people you 
are amomr. from the leaders of them, in opposition to the 
present measures of Administration, than you have from 
those whose business it is, not to disclose truths, but to 
misrepresent facts, in order to justify, as much as possible, 
to the world their own conduct. Give me leave to add, and 
I think I can announce it as a fact, that it is not the wish 
or interest of that government, or any other upon this con- 
tinent, separately or collectively, to set up for independ- 
ence ; but this you may at the same time rely on, that 
none of them will ever submit to the loss of those valuable 
rights and privileges which are essential to the happiness 
of every free state, and without which life, liberty, and 
property are rendered totally insecure." 1 

In the last debate of the Lords attended by Franklin, 
March 16th, 1775, he heard American courage, American 
religion, American intellect, branded as cowardice, hypo- 

1 Spark's Life of Washington, vol. i. p. 130. 


crisy, and dullness. " We were treated," lie says, "as the 
lowest of mankind, and almost of a different species from 
the English of Great Britain ; but particularly American 
honesty was abused by some of the Lords, who asserted thai 
we were all knaves, and wanted only by this dispute to 
avoid paying our debts." 

An eminent English writer says : — " On this occasion a 
few tongues helped to dismember an empire. Chatham's 
prophetic eye had discerned months before this memorable 
debate the issue of such zealotry. And in the month of 
November 1776, when America was ringing with the De- 
claration of Independence, and England was exasperated by 
what it considered as the sin of witchcraft, the Earl, being 
then very sick at Hayes, and not expecting to recover, 
solemnly charged his physician, Dr Addington, to bear testi- 
mony that he died with his opinions respecting America 
unchanged. He renewed a former prediction, that unless 
England changed her policy, France would espouse the 
cause of the Americans. France, he said, only waited till 
England was more deeply engaged in this " ruining war 
against herself in America, as well as to prove how far 
the Americans, abetted by France indirectly only, may be 
able to make a stand, before she takes an open part by 
declaring war upon England." 2 

Every one, to speak broadly, was against America; 

George the Third and Lord North, vol. ii. p. 9. 



certainly tho?e who defended her cause could be easily 
counted ; but it was unfortunate that the multitude were 
not a little more reserved in their expressions, that they so 
openly expressed their scorn for, and depreciation of, an 
enemy who overcame them so easily. 3 

They forgot that contempt is not argument, and they 
forgot also k ' what extraordinary obstacles a small band of 
insurgents may surmount in the cause of liberty." 4 

The American Congress held its first sittings at Phila- 
delphia on the 4th of September 1774. The members were 
willing to make peace, but they wisely prepared for war. 
The result is too well known to need further record. The 
" tea-tax" was but the last attempt to fetter a people who 

8 Johnson, the lexicographer, had a share in exciting the popular 
feeling also. He wrote a pamphlet entitled " Taxation no Tyranny, " 
but he forgot to say anything about the necessity for justice in taxation. 
He said : " One of their complaints is not such as can claim much com- 
miseration from the softest bosom. They tell us that we have ekonged 
our conduct, and that a tax is now laid by Parliament on those which 
[sic] were never taxed by Parliament before. To this we think it may 
be easily answered that the longer they have been spared, the better 
they can pay." " By a similar process of arguing," observes Mr Daunt, 
" Hampden might be shown to have been in arrear for ship-money, and 
Prynne for ears." 

All kinds of stories went the round in England on the subject of 
American incompetence, moral and physical. Farces were enacted in 
the theatres in which tailors and cobblers were described as samples of 
American soldiers. A young American officer who was present on one 
occasion, shouted out from his box, " Hurrah ! but Britain is beaten by 
tailors and cobblers." 

4 Speech in the debates. 



were determined to be free, and who carried out their 
determination. The Declaration of Independence was 
signed on the 4th of July 1776, by Adams, Franklin, and 
Jefferson, and America became a nation and the home 
of the exiled Celt. To her and to them we say, Esto 

Thus we find America free at the birth of O'Connell, and 
at the same time we find the first indications of a union in 
feeling and principle between Ireland and America. It is 
a subject which ought to be of considerable interest to 
every Englishman, which is of the very deepest interest 
to every Irishman. If another war should break out 
between America and England — and with the pressure 
of the Irish vote on American politics, such an event 
might not require even the settlement of " Alabama" or 
any other claims to precipitate it — there can be no doubt 
that millions of expatriated Irishmen would join in the 
conflict with something more than ordinary military 

If, as we shall presently show, England was compelled 
to grant some trifling instalments of justice to Ireland, 
when threatened on all sides by peril at the close of the 
last century, it would be but common prudence on her part 
to make Ireland forget her past wrongs and her present 

One of the things not generally known, or, if known, not 
generally considered, in connection with American inde- 



pendence, is the Address to the People of Ireland which 
was issued by Congress. They appeal to Ireland because 
they are " desirous of the good opinion of the virtuous and 

" We are desirous of the good opinion of the virtuous 
and humane. TVe are peculiarly desirous of furnishing 
yon with the true state of our motives and objects, the 
better to enable you to judge of our conduct with accuracy 
and determine the merits of the controversy with impar- 
tiality and precision. Your Parliament had done us no 
wrong. You had ever been friendly to the rights of man- 
kind; and we acknowledge with pleasure and gratitude 
that your nation has produced patriots who have nobly 
distinguished themselves in the cause of humanity and 

Another thing not generally known, or not sufficiently 
considered, is, that some of the leading men in the Ameri- 
can revolt were Irish. Even then some few Celts had 
found their way to the land in which they were to obtain 
such numerical strength at a future day. 

Thompson, the secretary of Congress, was Irish. He 
had been agitating against England for ten years. Frank- 
lin corresponded with him frequently, and wrote to him 
from London, " The sun of liberty is set; we must now 
light up the candles of industry." Thompson's reply was 
significant, " Be assured we shall light up torches of a very 
different kind." 



Montgomery was an Irishman. He captured Montreal 
and 'lied before Quebec. 5 

O'Brien was an Irishman, and commanded in the first 
naval engagement with England. 

On the 2d of February, Walpole writes to Mann : — 
" We have no news public or private ; but there is an 
ostrich-egg laid in America, where the Bostonians have 
canted three hundred chests of tea into the ocean, for 
they will not drink tea with our Parliament. . . . Lord 
Chatham tallied of conquering America in Germany; I 
believe England will be conquered some day in New Eng« 
land or Bengal." 

• Sse Burns' spirited lines : — 

"And yet what reck ! he at Quebec, 
Montgomcry-Uke did fa', man, 
Wi* sword in hand before his bandy 
Amang his enemies a', man." 

(Tbnptcr KJift. 

i775~ I 797- 


HAP. 893 

Jgjjnj'HE troubles which were ex- 

cj( American war continued for 
several years. On the 23d of 
October 1 7 7 . j , thousands of incen- 
diary papers were dispersed, incit- 
/Sy ing the people to rise and prevent the 

^^^J3 ^ meeting of Parliament. On this the 

JhrJ ffuard was trebled, and their muskets loaded, and 
^jx&jodP thirty-six rounds of powder delivered to them. 

^ * ae same ^ me P a P ers ? telling the people how 
CEj we ^ * ne Court was prepared, signed by Sir John 
Hawkins, Chairman of the Bench of Westminster 


Justices, were spread abroad. 

6 Walpole's Last Journals, vol. i. p. 510. 



The king was fall}' aware of the danger, and wrote thua 
to Lord North : — 

" Queen's House, October 25, 1775. 
2 min. past 11 a.m. 

" Lord North, — On the receipt of your letter I have ordered 
Elliot's regiment to march from Henley to Hounslow, and the 
Horse and Grenadier Guards to take up their horses. These 
handbills are certainly spread to cause terror, but they may in the 
timid duke I saw yesterday, but I thank God I am not of that 
make. I know what my duty to my country makes me undertake, 
and threats cannot prevent me from doing that to the fullest 
extent." 7 

In 1779, the king seemed to be recovered sufficiently to 
see the possible danger to English interests in Ireland. 
In a letter dared Kew, June 11, 1779, he says: " The 
present difficulties keep my mind very far from a state of 
ease. ... I have heard Lord North frequently drop that 
the advantages to be gained by this contest could never 
repay the expence ; I owne that, let any war be ever so 
successful, if persons will sit down and weigh the expences, 
they will find, as in the last, that it has impoverished the 
state, enriched individuals, and perhaps raised the name 

? Correspondence, vol. i. p. 20. — " Queen's House, afterwards Ihick- 
ingham House, was bought of Sir Charles Sheffield by George the Third 
in 1761. for £21,000, and settled on Queen Charlotte, in lieu of Somerset 
House, by an Act passed in 1775. Here all the King's children were 
born, George the Fourth alone excepted. The Queen's House was taken 
down in 1825 to make room for the present Buckingham Palace." — Cut** 
ningham?s Handbook of London, p. 86, 2d ed. 



only of the conquerors; but this is only weighing such 
events in the scale of a tradesman behind his counter ; it 
is necessary for those in the station it has pleased Divine 
Providence to place me to weigh whether expences, though 
very great, are not sometimes necessary to prevent what 
might be more ruinous to a country than the loss of money. 
The present contest with America, I cannot help seeing, as 
the most serious in which any country was ever engaged : 
it contains such a train of consequences that they must be 
examined to feel its real weight. Whether the laying a 
tax was deserving all the evils that have arisen from it, I 
should suppose no man could alledge [sic] that without 
being thought more fit for Bedlam than a seat in the 
Senate; but step by step the demands of America have 
risen : independence is their object ; that certainly is one 
which every man not willing to sacrifice every object to a 
momentary and inglorious peace must concurr with me in 
thinking that this country can never submit to : should 
America succeed in that, the West Indies must follow 
them, not independence, but must for its own interest be 
dependent on North America. Ireland would soon follow 
the same plan and be a separate state; then this island 
would be reduced to itself, and soon would be a poor island 
indeed, for, reduced in her trade, merchants would retire 
with their wealth to climates more to their advantage, and 
shoals of manufacturers would leave this country for the 
new empire." 



There was no question of Irish loss or gain, except in so 
far as Irish loss or gain affected English interests, and it 
required a very much larger intellect than that of George 
III. to see that these interests were, or ought to be, iden- 

About the same time the Duke of Eichmond made a 
motion in the House of Lords, in which he said: " That 
in a moment so critical, the most awful this country 
had ever experienced, it would be deceiving His Majesty 
and the nation if they were not to represent that the 
only means of resisting the powerful combination which 
threatened the country would be by a total change of that 
system which had involved us in our present difficulties in 
America, in Ireland, and at home." 

The Gordon riots took place in 1780, and lasted from the 
2d of June until the 9th. Parliament was unable to meet 
during this commotion. It was suspected that the French 
were the instigators of it, as at that time everything 
revolutionary was laid to their charge. The king wanted 
to have " examples made," and told Lord North he must 
" get to the bottom of it." A difficult task for that easy- 
going minister, who was scarcely capable of getting to the 
bottom of anything. 

In 1783 (July 24) the king expressed a strong opinion 
on the state of public affairs by no means complimentary to 
himself or his ministers : — 

" Undoubtedly there is less regularity in the modes of 



conducting business in tin's kingdom than in any other 
European, or the mode of calling a new parliament in 
Ireland ought to have been so clearly stated in the 
change of that constitution that no room ought to have 
been left for doubts as to the proper method of effecting 
it. But I fear folly, not reason, dictated the measure, 
and therefore it is not surprising every step has not been 
well weighed." 

In November he declared that " Ireland was in fact dis- 
united from England," and certainly not without cause. 
The volunteers had been organised, and the volunteers were 
determined to have justice done to their country, while 
England was unable to deny it in consequence of her own 
personal embarrassments. 

There was war in India also, and though this did not 
very much concern the nation at large, till some few honour- 
able men were roused by the recital of the horrible cruelties 
practised on the unhappy natives, it was not without its 

The king and the Prince of Wales quarrelled, and the 
unhappy monarch exhibited the first symptoms of that 
malady which clouded his latter years. 

In 1795 all England was excited, turbulent, and violent. 
The war had necessitated increased taxation, increased 
taxation involved distress, and distress fell grievously on 
those who were least able to bear it. 

Men who could lose thousands of pounds in a game of 



chance, or who could spend hundreds of pounds on mere 
luxuries, were not likely to understand the sharp suf- 
ferings of those who had not sixpence to spare for a 
luxury, who had not at times a penny to buy a loaf of 
bread. There were few who could even comprehend the 
terrible misery of starvation, and the terrible agony 02 
seeing wife and child pining away for want of common 
sustenance. 8 

Those who suffered thus were not likely to make nice 
distinctions as to the cause. The king as the ruler of the 
nation was naturally credited with being the origin of the 

8 Alison's " History of Europe," vol. iii. p. 20, thus describes the state 
of England : — " The condition of Great Britain in the close of 1795 and 
the beginning of 1796, was nearly as distracted, so far as public opinion 
went, as that of France. So violent had party spirit become, and so 
completely had it usurped the place of patriotism or reason, that many 
of the popular leaders had come to wish anxiously for the triumph of 
their enemies. It was no longer a simple disapprobation of the war 
which they felt, but a fervent desire that it might terminate to the dis- 
advantage of their country, and that the Republican might triumph ovei 
the British arms. They thought that there was no chance of parliamen- 
tary reform being carried, or any considerable addition to democratic 
power acquired, unless the ministry were deposed ; and to accomplish 
this object they hesitated not to betray their wish for the success of the in- 
veterate enemies of their country. These ill humours which were afloat 
during the whole of the summer of 1795, broke out into acts of open 
violence in the autumn of that year. These causes of discontent were 
increased by the high price of provisions, the natural consequence of the 
increased consumption and enlarged circulating medium required in the 
war, but which the lower orders, under the instigation of their dema* 
gogues, ascribed entirely to the ministry, and the crusade which they 
had undertaken against the liberties of mankind." 



national troubles. The king it was supposed could remedy 
them, and did not do so, and popular vengeance sought to 
make the king the victim of its indignation. 

O'Connell was an eye-witness of this scene, and when he 
beard hitter reflections made, in later years, on the poor 
Irish peasant who attempted the life of a landlord who 
had deprived him of house, home, and even of the very 
possibility of labouring for an existence, it is little wonder 
that his honest heart burned with indignation when men 
condemned this, and lightly passed over an attempt at 
regicide which certainly had not the excuse of being 
excited by actual starvation. 

The attack on the king was made on the 29th of October 
1795, as he was returning from Parliament. CTConnell 
went with a friend to St James' Park, little anticipating 
the extraordinary scene which he was to witness. He thus 
described it himself to Mr Daunt: "The carriage, sur- 
rounded by a noisy, angry, and excited mob, came moving 
Blowly along. Suddenly the glass in the royal window was 
smashed by some individual in the crowd, who, having read 
the Bible, " rendered unto Caesar the things that are 
Cfcesar's," by flinging a penny at His Majesty. The flash- 
ing sabres of the dragoons were drawn immediately, the 
loud voice of imperative command was ringing above the 
tumultuous sounds, and the dragoons, clearing their way 
through the huddled and scrambling multitude with bran- 
dished blades and curveting horses, advanced in a gallop in 



front of the king's carriage. As the procession approached 
the place where O'Connell stood he pressed forward to get 
a sight of the king, when a dragoon made a furious slash at 
him, which deeply notched the tree about an inch or two 
above his head. Groans, hootings, and hisses filled the air, 
and the king's life seemed in imminent danger ; however, he 
got rid of his dutiful subjects, and entered St James's Palace, 
where he took off his robes in a wonderfully short time. He 
then came out at the opposite side of the palace, next 
Cleveland Row, and entered a coach drawn by two large 
black Hanoverian horses. He was subsequently driven 
towards Buckingham House, and just as he was passing the 
bottom of the Green Park, the mob tumultuously swarmed 
round the carriage, seized the wheels, and, with united 
strength and horrible vociferations, prevented their revolu- 
tion, though the postilions, with desperate cuts, rained 
showers of blows on the straining and perspiring horses. 
The mob seemed intent on tearing the king to pieces. 
Two fellows at this moment approached the carriage — the 
hand of one was on the door-handle in the act of opening 
it. Had the door opened they would doubtless have dragged 
the king headlong out and murdered him on the spot. At 
this critical juncture a tall determined-looking man thrust 
a pistol through the opposite window at the fellows who 
were going to open the door ; they shrank back, the mob 
rehxed their grasp on the wheels, the postilions flogged 
their horses, and ihe carriage went off at a gallop to Buck- 


ingham ITouse. Never had "king a more narrow escape. It 
was a terrible 806110." 

O'Connell returned home soon after, and some curious 
and characteristic anecdotes were told of his family life. 
For himself it is said that lie was passionately fond of field 
sports, and took care to make up now for lost time by double 
enjoyment. No doubt that hardy constitution which made 
him bear up under years of such mental and physical toil 
as few men have ever endured, was braced and invigorated 
by the fresh Atlantic breezes of his mountain home. 

His son thus describes him at this period: u Often has 
the writer of these pages heard him describe, in his own 
graphic manner, his going out before dawn, to ensure that 
his few hounds should have the help of the scent still lying; 
the feelings of the party as they crouched amid the heather, 
waiting for day; the larks springing all around, and the 
eager dogs struggling to get free from the arms that re- 
strained them. A wager — the only wager of Mr O'Connell's 
life — was successfully accomplished by him with four of 
these hounds ; namely, the killing of four hares in three 
successive days. The four hounds, in fact, ran down and 
killed six hares in those three days, and vaulted another — 
a feat which he boasts no four hounds now living could 

The vice of hard drinking was not one in which the 
future Liberator indulged. He was temperate ; either 
from inclination, or from being unable to imbibe the 



copious potations which his companions considered almost 
a necessary of life. 

It is said that he was one of the first to break through 
the time-honoured rule that the door should be locked after 
dinner, and the key thrown out of the window until every 
guest had drunk to intoxication. 9 

9 Tins practice was by no means confined to the wilds of Kerry, or in- 
deed to Ireland. At Shanes Castle, where Mrs Sid dons often took part 
in private theatricals, Lord Mountjoy drew up in joke a set of rules for 
the company, which give an amusing idea of the state of society even in 
the highest circles : — 

" Resolutions formed to promote regularity at Shanes Castle, at the 
meeting for the representation of ' GymbelineJ Nov. 20, 1785. 
" L That no noise be made during the forenoon, for fear of wakening 
the company. 

" 2. That there shall be no breakfast made after four o'clock in the 
afternoon, nor tea after one in the morning. 

"3. To inform any stranger who may come in at breakfast, that we 
are not at dinner. 

" 4. That no person be permitted to go out airing after breakfast till 
the moon gets up, for fear of being overturned in the dark. 

" 5. That the respective grooms may put up their horses after foui 
hours' parading before the hall-door of the Castle. 

"6. That there shall be one complete hour between each meal. 

" 7. That all the company must assemble at dinner before the cloth is 

" 8. That supper may not be called for till five minutes after the last 
glass of claret. 

" 9. That no gentleman be permitted to drink more than three bottlea 
of hock at or after supper. 

" 10. That all M.P.'s shall assemble on post-days in the coffee-room 
at four o'clock to frank letters." — Cornwallis' Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 
349. The free and easy style of living is as manifest from Rule 2, as 
the genial and general hospitality by Rule 5. 



O'ConnelFs favourite place in bis uncle's house was the 
sideboard, where he found more freedom to indulge his jokes, 
and more liberty to come aud go as he pleased. 

A certain "Cousin Kane," who enjoyed " free quar- 
ters ' whenever he could get them — and when was hospi- 
tality ever refused in the " Green Island?' 1 — was one of 
the county characters. Cousin Kane had that charming 
facility of accommodation which satisfied itself every- 
where, at least fur a time ; and with his two horses and his 
twelve dogs, he quartered himself from week to week, now 
in one house and now in another, where he could, or said 
he could claim kin. Yet Cousin Kane's disposition does not 
seem to have been improved by his travels, for it is said that 
on one occasion there were seventy-six actions for assault 
and battery pending him at the Tralee assizes. 
O'Connell offended him once by giving him whisky instead 
of sherry in mistake. Kane drank the whisky at a draught, 
and then commenced vituperating his young cousin, con- 
cluding his harangue by roaring in a tone of thunder, "Fill 
it again, sir ! " 

On the following morning, Kane got np at two o'clock 
and wakened O'Connell by his noise. "What are you 
about ?" said O'Connell, " the clock has only struck two." 
"Do you think I am to be a slave to that lying devil cf 
a clock ye have there? " raved Kane. " Do you think a 
gentleman like me is to be ruled and governed by a black- 
guard of a clock like that — eh ? For what would I stay in 



bed if it struck twenty-two when I cannot sleep ? " Mani- 
festly " Cousin Kane " would have been an ardent admirer 
of rule number four of the Shanes Castle code. 

In 1798, after O'Connell had been called to the bar, and 
before he went bis first circuit, his life was despaired of, in 
consequence of bis baving taken a violent chill, which 
resulted in fever. His own eagerness in the cbase was the 
immediate cause of this malady. His son thus records the 
circumstances, as related by his father : — • 

" Eagerness in the pursuit of this amusement bad nearly 
cost him bis life in the eventful year 1798 — the same in 
which he was called to tbe bar. After the latter occur- 
rence, wbich took place May 19, and before his first circuit, 
he proceeded, in August, to Darrynane ; and there, from a 
young man's imprudence in allowing wet clothes to dry 
on him while he slept before a peasant's fire after a hard 
morning's hunting, was, after the further imprudence of 
attempting, during a fortnight, to fight off the fierce 
assailant, prostrated by a most severe and dangerous typhus 
fever. Early in the disorder, he obtained a full conscious- 
ness of his danger, and retained that consciousness in the 
intervals of the fits of delirium, which came upon him 
violently and frequently. Whenever the mind was able to 
assert its self-control, his most constant and bitterest 
thought was, that he was about to die, without having been 
able to gratify the instinctive and innate feeling which 
from infancy had been uppermost in his mind — the feeling 


of craving, that it might be his lot to do something- for 
Ireland ; and it is a curious fact that, in his ravings, he 
was constantly heard repeating the following lines from 
the tragedy of Douglas : — 

1 Unknown, I die ; no tongue shall speak of me: 
Some noble spirits, judging by themselves, 
May yet conjecture what I might have proved, 
And think lite only wanting to my fame ! ' 

" An affecting incident marked the turn of the disorder. 
When, as he felt himself, and as he appeared to others, he 
was falling into his agony, his head had slipped from the 
pillow, and death would have been accelerated by the 
position, a cousin of his, who was present, raised him and 
supported him in her arms. While for a moment revived 
by this, his father came to the bedside, and, after contem- 
plating him for a moment with agonised feelings, addressed 
him with 6 Dan, don't you know me?' As with the last 
effort of nature, the son pressed the father's hand, in token 
of affectionate recognition ; and, with the effort, the fell 
di-ease, that had so long been triumphant, seemed to be, 
for the first time, arrested — the crisis arrived, twenty-four 
hours' tfleep followed, and thenceforth began, and steadily 
continued, the restoration of health." 

During the same illness, Napoleon's successful march to 
Alexandria was mentioned in his presence. The acute 
mind, which at once grasped the impossibilities, as well as 
the possibilities of any plan, political or social, at one* 


asserted itself. " 6 That is impossible/ said the patient; 
i lie cannot have done so — they would have been starved.' 
'Oh, no,' replied the doctor; ' they bad a quantity of 
portable soup, sufficient to feed the army for four days.' 
4 Ay,' replied O'Connell, 6 but had they portable water? 
For their portable soup would be of little use without the 
water to dissolve it.' The medical gentleman, glancing 
hopefully at the mother, said, in a low and satisfied tone, 
4 His intellect at any rate is untouched.' " 

O'Connell went to Dublin in the year 1797, probably 
with a view to further preparation for being called to the 
bar, possibly with the intention of making friends who 
might serve him in his new career. It would appear to 
have been his first visit to the Irish metropolis; — under how 
many different phases he must have seen it afterwards, 
under how many different circumstances he must have 
entered it ! He had witnessed the assembling of an Eng- 
lish parliament, he has now to witness the last debates of 
the Irish house. In England he had heard Pitt, and Fox, 
and Burke ; l in Dublin, he heard Grattan and Flood. 

In England he had seen the king attacked in open da} 

1 He spoke for the last time on the 20th of June 1794 His brothel 
Richard died during this year, and his death inflicted a deep blow on 
the sensitive heart of the great Irishman. "Dick" was indeed a uni- 
versal favourite. Every one loved him in the Ballitore Quaker school, 
where he waa educated ; and if he was " wished full ten times a day at 
old Nick," not indeed by his friends, who would scarcely pardon such 



by liis own subjects, and only saved from an instant and 
terrible deatli by a military escort. In Ireland lie was to 
be a witness tc secret rebellion, and even to be personally 
compromised in it. 

The state of Ireland at that period was certainly alarm- 
ing, and has been unfortunately but too little understood. 

The broad outlines of contemporary history are indeed 
familiar tv, all educated persons. The manner in which the 
Irish rebellion was — shall we say encouraged, or excited 
by English statesmen ? — is admitted, because it cannot be 
denied, by some English historians ; the fraud and force by 
which the Union was effected is known equally well, but not, 
perhaps, generally believed. Nevertheless the real causes 
and the real effects of the rebellion and of the Union have 
scarcely met with the consideration they deserve, though 
the subject is one which deserves and would repay a careful 

Lord Townsend's administration had thoroughly debased 
the Irish parliament. It has been taken for granted, 
because the Irish Parliament was composed of persons who 

profanity, but by the poet who sings his praise, he was as surely wished 
back agaj&. 

" "What spirits were his, what art and what whim, 
Now breaking a jest and now breaking a limb ! 

In short, so ] eculiar a devil was Dick, 

That we wished him well ten times a day at old Nick, 

Eut missing his mirth and agreeable vein, 

As often we wished to have Dick back again." 



lived, at least, part of their lives in Ireland, that it repre^ 
rented Irish feeling. It is true, indeed, that there were a 
few men in it from time to time who were incorruptible 
and independent, who had Irish interests, and who would 
make sacrifices for them ; but the great majority had no 
interest in Ireland. It was indeed the country from 
whence they drew their rents, and which supplied them 
with their income, but they were aliens from the people in 
religion and in affection. 

English interest was still the ruling motive of every 
enactment of this so-called Irish Parliament ; and yet, 
because the Parliament was Irish, because it had an Irish 
element in it, Ireland prospered during its later years, as 
Ireland had never prospered before. 

Still the one fatal policy prevailed, and the one fatal 
principle was carried out. Ireland was not treated as an 
integral part of the British Empire. Her interests were 
not even considered for a moment, and if they were con- 
sidered, it was only that they might be treated as some- 
thing absolutely inimical to English prosperity. It was a 
curious policy, it was an unwise policy, it was a fatal policy. 
If one-half the money which was spent in repressing Trish 
rebellions had been spent in promoting Irish industry, 
there would have been no rebellions to repress, and Eng- 
land might have enriched herself, instead of adding a heavy 
item to her national debt, and throwing an additional 
weight of obloquy on her national character. 


But in considering this period of Irish history, Irishmen 
have sometimes forgotten that the English House of Com- 
mons was quite as venal as that which sat in Dublin. The 
English nation had been for years, indeed since the very 
first hour of its intercourse with Ireland, educated and 
imbued with an anti-Irish feeling. Even Charles L dared 
not repeal Povning's Act, though, by so doing, he had at 
least a chance of saving himself from his English subjects 
by conciliating his Irish subjects. He took in the full 
extent of his position. The Irish were Irish aud nothing 
more. He may not, indeed, have deliberately selected to 
be murdered by his English subjects in preference to being 
defended by his Irish subjects ; but undoubtedly he weighed 
the matter carefully, and practically he concluded that, 
though the Irish might be his faithful subjects, they were 
very powerless to protect him against his rebellious sub- 
jects, while there was not one but thousands of Crom- 
wells in England. Charles L was right ; he might be 
spared by these blood-thirsty men, but if he sought protec- 
tion from his Irish subjects, these men would effect their 
end sooner or later, and involve him and his defenders in 
one common ruin. 

The conditions of Irish political life before the close 01 
the last century were sufficiently ominous, but the condi- 
tions at the close of that century are without parallel in the 
annals of history. 

The American war, or rather the evident probability that 



the American war would be successful, first roused up the 
English mind to the necessity, for its own sake, of doing 
something for Ireland. The problem then became how to 
do as little as possible ; unwillingness to do that little made 
it be done as ungraciously as possible. When you fling 
a trifling alms to a relation whom you have systematically 
defrauded, because you fear he may now have it in his 
power to retaliate, you can scarcely expect him to over- 
whelm you with gratitude, or to forget past wrongs. Yet 
the Irish are constantly reproached with being the most 
ungrateful people on the earth because they do not go into 
ecstasies of thankfulness for the smallest instalment of 
justice. Neither individuals nor nations are to be respected 
who sacrifice their personal dignity. 

The American war thus created a necessity for justice, 
and on the 10th of November 1773, leave was given to 
bring in a bill to secure the repayment of money that 
should be lent by Papists to Protestants on mortgages of 
land, and to show the extra condescension of this act of 
very accurate legal justice, of justice which one might 
suppose could not be denied by one man to another, the 
bill was brought in by Mr Mason, Sir Lucius O'Brien, and 
Mr Langrishe, who were " government men." 

It might be supposed that any body of educated men 
would pass the bill, but it was not passed. 

Leave was also given to bring in a bill to allow Papists to 
take leases of houses and of lands. It might be supposed 



that at the close of the eighteenth century such a hill would 
certainly pass. It was rejected also.* 

American affairs began to look still more threatening, 
and on the oth of March 1774, leave was given to Lri:._ in 
a bill to permit Catholic subjects to testify their allegiance 
to their sovereign. This bill was passed, and the Irish 
historian Plowden says : " It gratified the Catholics, inas- 
much as it was a formal recognition that they were sub- 
ject?, and to this recognition they looked up as to the corner- 
stone of their future emancipation. " 

Emigration to America had already begun. Had there 
been greater facilities the emigration would have been 
greater. What indeed were men to do who were neither 
allowed to live nor to labour, and who were noc recognised 
even as subjects until now — who were, even after this 
pitiful recognition, treated virtually as rebels even in time 
of peace ? 3 

* The animus which existed in all classes of Engli sh is strongly shuwn 
in some of George III.'s letters. He writes thus to Lord North on March 
29, 1776 : " I have, both in the times of Lord Hertford and of Lord 
Townshend, declined making Irish marquises, and I have not in the 
lea3t changed my opinion on that subject, I am heartily sick of Lord 
Harcouii s mode of trying step by step to draw me to fulfil his absurd 
requests. I desire I may hear no more of Irish marquises ; I feel for 
the English earls, and do not choose to disgust them.'' — Correspondence 
of Georye 111., voL iL p. 16. It was the same principle of making a dis- 
tinction betweer. English and Irish subjects which made James L cry 
out. " Spare my English subjects," when the Irish were fighting for him 
to the death. 

3 We find George IIL writing in a specially contemptuous Style of nil 


How completely the rebellion of 1798 was a Protestant 
movement has never been clearly understood. It is true, 
indeed, the great mass of those who rose were Catholics, 
but that was simply because the Catholics formed an over- 
whelming majority of the population. The leaders were 
Protestants ; and how this came about we shall proceed to 

Trade was permitted spasmodically in the north of 
Ireland, because the people in the north of Ireland were 
principally Protestants, and were many of them of Scotch 
and French descent. But this by no means saved them 
from the ill-judged, miserable policy of their English rulers. 
The volunteer movement began in Belfast, and Cork, which 

American subjects, until they proclaimed their independence. In a 
letter dated July 4, 1774, lie writes very boldly of "compulsion;''' the 
English " lyons " however got the worst of it : — " Since you left me this 
day, I have seen Lieutenant-General Gage, who came to express bis 
readiness, though so lately come from America, to return at a day'a 
notice, if the conduct of the Colonies should induce the directing coercive 
measures. His language was very consonant to his character of an 
honest determined man. He says they will be lyons whilst we are 
lambs ; but, if we take the resolute part, they will undoubtedly prove 
very meek. He thinks the four regiments intended to relieve as many 
regiments in America, if sent to Boston, are sufficient to prevent any dis- 
turbance. I wish you would see him, and hear his ideas as to the mode 
of compelling Boston to submit to whatever may be thought necessary ; 
indeed, all men seem now to feel that the fatal compliance in 1766 has 
encouraged the Americans annually to increase in their pretensions to 
that thorough independency which one state has of another, but which 
is quite subversive of the obedience which a colony owes to its mothe* 
country." — Correspondence, vol. i. p. 36. 



was then an ukra-Protestant city, supplied two of the lead* 
ing spirits of the rebellion in the persons of the Shearses. 

BotiiCurk and Belfast suflfered most severely from English 
law=, made to restrain, or, to speak more accurately, to ruin 
Irish trade.* 

* Sir William Temple wrote thus in 1673 : <; Regard must be had to 
those points wherein the trade of Ireland comes to interfere with that of 
England, in which case the Irish trade ought to be declined, so as to give 
way to the trade of England." 

A pamphlet on trade, published in London. 1727, apologises for op- 
posing what it states as u the universally received opinion that it were 
better for England if Ireland were no more ! " And the writer grounds 
this opposition on his conviction that such are Ireland's natural advan- 
tages for commerce, that her trade would increase greatly if the restric- 
tions then existing were taken off ; and the consequence would be, that 
"the drafts of England upon her would be increased, and the greater part 
of Ireland's gains by trade would centre in England ! 9 

Anderson, in his k * History of Commerce." openly declares the English 
jealousy of Irish commercial enterprise. Coonibe, who continued An- 
derson's work, comments with rather too considerate, but still a decided 
tone of censure, on the oppressive and tyrannous line of conduct adopted 
in consequence of that jealousy. 

Arthur Young, in 1776, wrote thus : " British legislation, on all oc- 
casions, controlled Irish commerce with a very high hand — universaLy 
on the principle of monopoly, as if the poverty of Ireland were her 

Pitt in 1735 bore the same testimony ; and again in 1799. On the 
latter occasion, he said : " Ireland long felt the narrow policy of Great 
Britain, who, influenced by views of commercial advantage, and stained 
with selfish motives, never looked on her prosperity as that of the empire 
at large." 

Mr Huskissou, in 1S25, added his testimony to the same effect : — 
u Till 1780 the agriculture, internal industry, manufactures, commerce, 
and navigation of Ireland, were held in the most rigid subserviency to 
the supposed interests of Great Britain. In 1776 there was a proposal zq 



In 1759 the Belfast people were obliged to arm them- 
selves in self-defence, and the English Government was 
obliged to permit, and even to encourage this movement, to 
prevent the French landing in Ireland. Three companies 
of volunteers were formed, and the spirit of the Irish was 
roused for the first time during the past half century. 
Volunteer companies started up everywhere, but this ar« 
rangement did not suit the English Government. It is 
true, indeed, that these volunteers were all Protestants, but 
Protestants were quite as likely to use their arms against 
oppression as Catholics, and even more so. The Lord- 
Lieutenant was requested to put down the movement, but 
it was not easy to do so. 

In 1779, when Protestant discontent became still more 
formidable, the Lord-Lieutenant wrote to Lord Weymouth 
on this subject :— 

"The seizing their arms would, therefore, be a violent expedient; 
and the preventing them from assembling, without a military 
force, impracticable ; for when the civil magistrate will rarely 
attempt to seize an offender suspected of the most enormous 
crimes, and when convicted, convey him to the place of execution 
without soldiers, — nay, when, in many instances, persons cannot 

let her import sugar direct, and export all but woollens, to pay for it ; 
and this proposal was almost made a question of allegiance by the great 
towns of Great Britain, and so lost ! But towards the close of that year 
the disasters in America, and the state of things in Ireland, produced a 
different feeling in the British Parliament. State necessities, acting under 
a sense of political danger, yielded, without grace, that which good sens* 
and goodfieling had before recommended in vain 1" 



be put into possession of their property, nor, being possessed, 
maintain it without such assistance, — there is little presumption 
in asserting that unless bodies of troops be universally dispersed, 
nothing can be done to effect." 

Nevertheless the Irish Protestants were so infatuated, 
or so ignorant, as not to see that their true interest lay in 
union with the Catholics, that a nation divided against 
itself could no more prosper than a divided family. 

In May 1778, a hill was brought in to permit Catholics 
to hold land, and was fiercely petitioned against by the 
Protestant party. It was necessary, however, for Govern- 
ment to conciliate the Catholics, so the bill passed by a 
small majority. But nothing was done for the benefit of 
trade. Poverty and destitution reigned supreme. Ireland 
was forbidden commerce, was obliged to pay tithes to a 
Church which she abhorred, and to support the priests of 
her own religion. She was compelled to pay taxes for 
the maintenance of a military force to compel her to remain 
silent under her cruel wrongs, and to support an army for 
the subjugation of the only country from which she had any 
hope of redress. 

England began to be alarmed. There were certainly 
6ome few men of the realm with sufficient common sense to 
gee the fatuity of the present course of Irish government ; 
amongst the number were Lord Newhaven and the Marquis 
of Rockingham. 

Lord Temple, who held the unenviable post of Lord-Lieu- 



tenant in Ireland, proposed a committee to inquire into the 
distress of the nation. Bat the nation was tired of pro- 
mises, and on the 4th of November 1778, the volunteers 
paraded Dublin. They had two field-pieces with them, and 
bearing a significant inscription — 

" Free Trade — or this." 

The result was that an act allowing free trade between 
Ireland and the British Colonies received the royal assent 
on the 24th of July 1780. 

This concession was obtained merely by the physical force 
argument of the volunteers. On the 24th of November 
1779, Grattan moved in the House of Commons that it was 
then inexpedient to grant new taxes. Ireland was plunged 
in the deepest and most abject poverty through no fault of 
her own, and England asked new subsidies from this nation 
which she had herself deprived of all means of enrichment! 

The motion was carried by a majority of over one hundred; 
and on the following day the opposition resolved, by a 
majority of one hundred and thirty-eight to one hundred, 
that the new duties should be for six months only. Dar- 
ing the debate, when Mr Brough the prime serjeant ex- 
claimed, " Talk not to me of peace. Ireland is not in a 
state of peace, it is> smothered over," — the house, thrilled io 
the core, rose in a body to cheer him. 5 Certainly there was 

6 Life of Grattan, vol. i. ch. 17 ; Memoirs of the Court of George III. 



some public spirit in Ireland then, and the man who 
evoked that spirit, who gave it body and active life, was 

His lather had been recorder of Dublin for many years, 
and he was therefore initiated into Irish politics from his 
very childhood. He was endowed by nature with great 
gifts of eloquence, and with that noble spirit of justice 
without which eloquence is a curse, for it only leads men, 
not indeed to admire, but to practise tyranny. During his 
early life he spent much of his time at Marley Abbey, the 
residence of his uncle, where he learned to admire the writ- 
ings of Swift, and in some degree imbibed their spirit. 

Grattan entered Parliament as member for Lord Chavie 
mont's borough of Charlemont, situated on the borders of 
Armagh and Tyrone. He was then in his thirtieth year. 
Whatever may be said of electoral intimidation in the pre- 
sent age, of close or open, of rotten or honest, of saleable or 
unsaleable boroughs, there is nothing even faintly approach- 
ing the state of parliamentary representation at the close of 
the eighteenth century. The process of election was simple, 
juid, after all, it had the merit of simplicity. The lord of the 
soil was the lord of the tenants parliamentary conscience. 
There was no doubt about the matter — no question about 
the matter. He sent down the candidate of his choice ; 
whether that choice was directed by political or pecuniary 
motives, mattered little. It was nothing to the free and 
independent electors certainly. They knew their duty, and 



they did it. If the}' failed God might help them, but there 
was no help from man. 

To have granted the lord of the soil the unlimited right 
of returning a member for his borough, would have saved a 
good deal of trouble, a good deal of expense, and a good 
deal of bitterness, but the arrangement does not seem to 
have been thought of, and certainly it would have looked 
unconstitutional. After all there is nothing like making a 
sham look legal and respectable. Men like Grattan got 
into Parliament now and then, when there were men like 
Lord Charlemont to nominate them ; but there were not 
many Lord Charlemonts in Ireland, and certainly there 
were not many Grattans. 

Lord Charlemont's conversion to Irish nationality, such 
as it was, arose from an open expression of English con- 
tempt for Irish peeresses. The whole affair is curious and 

A grand procession of peers and peeresses was arranged 
to meet the unfortunate Princess Caroline, but, before the 
Princess landed, the Duchess of Bedford was commanded to 
inform the Irish peeresses that they were neither to walk 
nor take any part in the procession. It was carrying out 
the trite saying, " No Irish need apply," in high life. 

This might be done with impunity and with approbation 
where the lower classes of Irish were concerned, but the 
peeresses resented it. Lord Charlemont had spent seven 
years abroad, and was not accustomed to the unedifying 



spectacle of a nation divided against itself — of one half 
of the body politic despising the other half. He warmly 
resented the insult, and by his efforts obtained a reversal of 
the order. But he did not forget it. For a time at least 
he took part with the oppressed nation to which he be- 
longed, but it was only for a time. The tide of public 
opinion in his own rank in life set strongly against him. 
Neither Ireland nor Irish politics were fashionable. It was 
well to be a peer certainly, even though he might be an 
Irish peer; but the less Irish he appeared, the more he would 
be respected by his fellows. What indeed were popular 
laudations in comparison with the approbation of his own 
immediate circle ? 

On the 27th of March 17S2, Charles Sheridan wrote 
thus to his brother Richard : — 

" As to our politics here, I send you a newspaper ; read the 
resolutions of the volunteers, and you will be enabled to form 
some idea of the spirit which pervades the country. A declara- 
tion of the dependency of our Parliament upon yours will cer- 
tainly pass our House of Commons immediately after the recess. 
Government here dare not, cannot oppose it : you will see the 
volunteers have pledged their lives and fortunes in support of the 
measure, the grand juries of every county have followed their 
example, and some of the staunchest friends of Government have 
been, much against their inclination, compelled to sign the most 
epirited resolutions.'' 6 

The volunteer movement, as we have said, began in 

6 Life of G rattan, vol. ii. p. 214. 




Belfast; when the necessity was over, the corps were dis- 
banded; but they refused in 1778, when there were again 
reports and fears of a French invasion. 

Id January 1779, Lord Charlemont assumed the com- 
mand of the Armagh volunteers. The Government did not 
like it. They had a choice of evils. Protection against a 
foreign foe was needed, but there were grave fears lest the 
protectors against a foreign foe might turn out domestic 
enemies. The English were thoroughly aware of the state 
of Irish feeling, though they took no pains to reconcile it. 

In May 1779, Lord Rockingham wrote thus to Lord 

Weymouth :— 

" Upon receiving official intimation that the enemy meditated 
an attack upon the northern parts of Ireland, the inhabitants of 
Belfast and Carrickfergus, as Government could not immediately 
afford a greater force for their protection than about sixty troopers, 
armed themselves, and by degrees formed themselves into two or 
three companies ; the spirit diffused itself into different parts of 
the kingdom, and the numbers became considerable, but in no 
degree to the amount represented. Discouragement has, however, 
been given on my part, as far as might be without offence, at a crisis 
when the arm and good-will of every individual might have been 
wanting for the defence of the state." 

The volunteers were in fact working up the country with 
a steady energy, with a quiet determination, that must have 
been terribly embarrassing to the Government. Those 
who thought at all, who looked ever so little beyond the 
narrow sphere of their self-interest, asked themselves what 
would be the end of all this ? 



It was impossible to raise a " No Popery !'* cry against 
them, however desirable, for tliey were all Protestants, 
end, being Protestants, though they were Irish, they could 
scarcely be shot down like dogs. Moreover, the}" were 
headed by men of high respectability, by men of rank 
and position. "When they met at Dungannon, on the 15th 
of February 1782, Colonel Irvine took the chair, and 
the following are but a few of the names of those who 
signed the resolutions: — Viscount Enniskillen, Colonel 
Mervyn Archdall, Colonel William Irvine, Colonel Robert 
M ; Clintock, Colonel John Ferguson, Colonel John Mont- 
gomery, Colonel Charles Leslie, Colonel Francis Lucas, 
Colonel Thomas M. Jones, Colonel James Hamilton, 
Colonel Andrew Thomson, Lieutenant-Colonel C. Nesbitt, 
Lieutenant-Colonel A. Stewart, Major James Patterson, 
Major Francis Dobbs, Major James M'Clintock. 

The following are some of the resolutions ; we do 
not give them all, because of their length, our present 
object being merely to give a general outline of the 
state of Ireland when O'Connell commenced his public 
career : — 

" Whereas, it has been asserted that volunteers, as such, can- 
not with propriety debate, or publish their opinions on political 
subjects, or on the conduct of Parliament or political men. 

" Resolved, unanimously, That a citizen by learning the use of 
arms does not abandon any of his civil rights. 

M Resolved, unanimously, That a claim of any body of men, 
other than the King, Lords, and Commons of Ireland, to make 



laws to bind this kingdom, is unconstitutional, illegal, and a 


" Resolved, with one dissenting voice only, That the powers 
exercised by the Privy Councils of both kingdoms, under, or under 
colour or pretence of, the law of Poyning's, are unconstitutional, 
and a grievance. 

" Resolved, unanimously, That the ports of this country are by 
right open to all foreign countries not at war with the king ; and 
that any burden thereupon, or obstruction thereto, save only 
by the Parliament of Ireland, is unconstitutional, illegal, and a 

11 Resolved, with two dissenting voices only to this and the 
following resolution, That we hold the right of private judgment, 
in matters of religion, to be equally sacred in others as ourselves. 

" Resolved, therefore, That as men and as Irishmen, as Chris* 
tians and as Protestants, we rejoice in the relaxation of the penal 
laws against our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects, and that we 
conceive the measure to be fraught with the happiest conse- 
quences to the union and prosperity of the inhabitants of 

The two last resolutions are noteworthy. For the first 
time Protestants seem to have obtained some glimmering 
light on the subject of religious liberty. It was a new 
discovery ; yet one should think it ought to have been an 
established axiom, that " the right of private judgment in 
religious matters," if it existed at all, must exist equally 
for all. The relaxation of the penal code was but a neces- 
sary consequence of this conclusion ; the entire removal of 
every disability — social, political, or domestic — would be 
but the natural end. 

Burke thus describes the pitiful concessions which were 


the result. His observations might be studied with advan- 
tage even at the present day. Liberal-minded, or to speak 
more correctly, large-minded Protestants need to be re- 
minded of Ireland's past grievances, of the terrible strug- 
gles which she was obliged to make in order to obtain even 
the most trifling act of justice. Those who are prejudiced 
might perhaps lessen their prejudice, if they have not sulti- 
cient intellect to discard them by studying the argu- 
ment of one of England's most famous senators, though his 
birth was Irish : — 

" To look at the bill in the abstract, it is neither more nor less 
than a renewed act of universal, unmitigated, indispensable, ex- 
ceptionless disqualification. One would imagine that a bill in- 
flicting such a multirude of incapacities, had followed on the heels 
of a conquest made by a very fierce enemy, under the impression 
of recent animosity and resentment. No man, on reading that 
bill, could imagine that he was reading an act of amnesty and 
indulgence. This I say on memory. It recites the oath, and 
that Catholics ought to be considered as good and loyal subjects 
to his majesty, his crown, and government; then follows a uni- 
versal exclusion of those good and loyal subjects from every, 
even the lowest office of trust and profit, or from any vote at an 
election ; from any privilege in a town corporate ; from being 
even a freeman of such corporations ; from serving on grand 
juries ; from a vote at a vestry ; from having a gun in his house ; 
from being a barrister, attorney, solicitor, &c, &c, &c. 

" This has surely more of the air of a table of proscriptions 
than an act of grace. What must we suppose the laws concern- 
ing those good subjects to have been of which this is a relaxa 
tion ? VVh^n a very great portion of the labour of individual 
goes to the State, and is by the State again refunded to iniU« 



viduals through the medium of offices, and in this circuitous pro* 
gress from the public to the private fund, indemnifies the families 
from whom it is taken, an equitable balance between the Govern- 
ment and the subject is established. But if a great body of the 
people who contribute to this State lottery, are excluded from all 
the prizes, the stopping the circulation with regard to them must 
be a most cruel hardship, amounting in effect to being double and 
treble taxed, and will be felt as such to the very quick by all the 
families, high and low, of those hundreds of thousands who are 
denied their chance in the returned fruits of their own industry. 
This is the thing meant by those who look on the public revenue 
only as a spoil ; and will naturally wish to have as few as possi- 
ble concerned in the division of the booty. If a State should be 
so unhappy as to think it cannot subsist without such a barbarous 
proscription, the persons so proscribed ought to be indemnified 
by the remission of a large part of their taxes, by an immunity 
from the offices of public burden, and by an exemption from 
being pressed into any military or naval service. Why are 
Catholics excluded from the law ? Do not they expend money in 
their suits ? Why may not they indemnify themselves by profit- 
ing in the persons of some for the losses incurred by others ? 
Why may they not have persons of confidence, whom they may, 
if they please, employ in the agency of their affairs? The ex- 
clusion from the law, from grand juries, from sheriffships, under- 
sheriffships, as well as from freedom in any corporation, may 
subject them to dreadful hardships, as it may exclude them 
wholly from all that is beneficial, and expose them to all that is 
mischievous in a trial by jury." 

Grattan exclaimed — 

" So long as the penal code remains, we never can be a great 
nation : the penal code is the shell in which the Protestant 
power has been hatched, and now it is become a bird, it must 
burst the shell asunder, or perish in it. I give my consent to the 



clause in its principle, extent, and boldness, and give my consent 
to it as the most likely means of obtaining a victory over the 
prejudices of Catholics, and over our own. I give my consent to 
it, because I would not keep two millions of my fellow-subjects in 
a state of slavery ; and because, as the mover of the Declaration 
of Bights, I should be ashamed of giving freedom to but six 
hundred thousand of my countrymen, when I could extend it to 
two millions more." 

The state of Ireland was causing general alarm in Eng- 
land. Lord Charlemont wrote to Mr Fox the bold words : 
" / am an Irishman; I pride myself in the appellation." 1 The 

7 "We give a considerable portion of Lord Charlemont's letter. The 
original may be found both in Hardy's " Life of Lord Charlemont," and 
in the Fox Correspondence : — 

M Dublin', nth April, 1782. 
"No man can be more rejoiced than I am at this late happy, though 
tardy, change, I rejoice in it as a friend to individuals, but more espe- 
cially as a member of the empire at large, which will probably be indebted 
to it for its salvation. I hope also, and doubt not, that I shall have 
reason to rejoice in it as an Irishman, for I cannot conceive that they 
who are intent upon the great work of restoring the empire, should not 
be ardently attentive to the real welfare of all its parts ; or that true 
Whigs, genuine lovers of liberty, whose principles I know, honour, and 
6trive to imitate, should not wish to diffuse this invaluable blessing 
through every part of those dominions whose interests they are called 
o\ na to administer. The appointment of the Duke of Portland, and of 
his secretary, is a <;ood presage. I know and respect their principles, ami 
should be truly unhappy if anything in their conduct respecting this 
country should prevent my perfect co-operation with them For, my 
dear sir, with every degree of affection for our sister kingdom, with 
every regard for the interests of the empire at large, I am an Irishman ; 
I pride myself in the appellation, and will in every particular act as such, 
at the same time declaring that I most sincerely and heartily concur 
with you in thinking that the interests of England and of Ireland can- 



volunteers were feared certainly, but the spirit which the 
volunteers had evoked was feared, and should have been 
feared a great deal more. Irishmen had been so long 
treated as inferiors, that they had begun to acquiesce in this 
treatment, passively at least. 

Their new assertion that they were men who had rights, 
their new perception that it needed only a little force, moral 
and physical, to obtain these rights, roused the spirit of 
the nation. 

Mr Fox discovered very clearly some of the evils of Irish 

not be distinct ; and that, therefore, in acting as an Irishman, I may 
always hope to perform the part of a true Englishman also. 

" I have shown your letter to Grattan, and he is much gratified by your 
friendly opinion of him. We are both of us precisely of the same mind. 
"We respect and honour the present administration. We adore the 
principle on which it is founded. We look up to its members with the 
utmost confidence for their assistance in the great work of general free- 
dom, and should be happy in our turn to have it in our power to support 
them in Ireland in the manner which may be most beneficial to them, 
and most honourable to us ; consulted but not considered. The people 
at large must indeed entertain a partiality for the present ministers. 
True Whigs must rejoice at the prevalence of Whiggish principles. The 
nation wishes to support the favourers of American freedom, the men 
who opposed the detested, the execrated American war. Let our rights 
be acknowledged and secured to us — those rights which no man can con- 
trovert, but which to a true Whig are self-evident — and that nation, 
those lives and fortunes which are now universally pledged for the 
emancipation of our country, will be as cheerfully, as universally pledged 
for the defence of our sister kingdom, and for the support of an adminis- 
tration which will justly claim the gratitude of a spirited and grateful 
people, by having contributed to the completion of all their wishes. — I 
am, &c, 

" Charlemont." 


administration. He wrote thus to Mr Fitzpatrick, who was 

chief secretary, on the 13th April 1782 : — 

" He [the Duke of Leinster] describes the want of concert and 
oystem which comes from the want of such a tiling [a cabinet] to 
he very detrimental in every respect, and particularly in parlia- 
mentary operations, where those who wish to support Government 
often do not know till the moment what is the plan proposed, 
and consequently are wholly unable to support it either system- 
atically or effectually. Another great inconvenience, which he 
attributes to this want, is that the Lord-Lieutenant, not having 
any regular ministry to apply to, is driven, or at least led, to con- 
sult Lees and such sort of inferior people, and by that means the 
whole power is (as it was here) centered in the Jenkinsons and Ro- 
binsons, &c., of that country. Nobody is responsible but the Lord- 
Lieutenant and his secretary ; they know they are to go away, 
and consequently all the mischiefs ensue that belong to a govern* 
ment without responsibility. I have not talked with anybody 
upon this, nor indeed had time to think it over myself, but it 
really strikes me as a matter very well worth weighing, ami I 
wish the Duke of Portland and you would turn your minds to it, 
especially if, as I take for granted, this idea was suggested to the 
Duke of Leinster by other considerable men on your side of the 
water. I have only stated it to you as it strikes me, upon first 
hearing the thing broached."* 

It was an old story. The Lord-Lieutenant merely looked 

on his post as a place of emolument or a dignity. Ireland 

was nothing to him. How should it be, when his residence 

in that country might terminate at any moment, when he 

■ Correspondence of Cliarles James Fox, vol. i p. 387. — The editor of 
that work observes : " It is ciftious to see the question of ' responsible 
government' started in Ireland more than half a century before it waa 
a watchword in Canada'' 



had no power to do good if he wished, and would have even 
scant thanks from his masters for doing it had he been 
able ? 

The position was anything but a pleasant one. We 
shall see later on what another viceroy thought on the 
subject. At this time there was undoubtedly a system of 
espionage. Letters were opened, it was said, by the crea- 
tures of the late administration. 

Mr Fitzpatrick wrote to Mr Fox to warn him : — 

" Dublin Castle, April VWi, 1782. 
" Dear Charles, — I shall begin my letter with giving you a 
caution concerning the communication of its contents too generally 
on your side of the water, and with another, respecting the con- 
fidential letters you write me, which you had better never trust to 
the post, as we have the misfortune of being here in the hands of 
the tools of the last Government, and there is every reason tn 
suspect that our letters may be opened before they reach us. 1 
wish you, therefore, to trust them only in the hands of mes- 
sengers." 9 

9 There are some amusing remarks about Grattan in this letter : " P>ut 
what appears to me the worst of all is, that unless the heat of the volun- 
teers subsides, I dread Grattan's. For though everybody seems to agree 
that he is honest, I am sure he is an enthusiast, and impracticable as the 
most impracticable of our friends in the Westminster Committee. His 
situation is enough to turn the head of any man fond of popular 
applause, but the brilliancy of it can only subsist by carrying points in 
opposition to Government ; and though he chose to make a comparison 
yesterday between Ireland and America, giving the preference to his 
own country, I confess I think the wise, temperate, systematic conduct 
of the other, if adopted by Ireland, would bring all these di fficulties to a 
very short and happy conclusion, to the satisfaction and advantage of 



On the 19th of July 1783, Lord Temple wrote a similar 

complaint to Mr Beresford : — 

M It is probable that this letter will share the fate which many 
others have experienced, and as I do not mean to write for the 
information of the post-office, I will only say that I still take that 
eager interest in the government of Ireland which will make me 
cordially rejoice in the success of a wise and temperate govern- 
ment ; but I have not the smallest objection to the publication of 
my opinion, that as far as your administration depends upon 
English ministers, it will not be wise, temperate, or consistent, 
and that every scene to which I have been a witness since my 
arrival in England has confirmed me in my opinions, under which 
I resigned the government, which I could not hold with advan- 
tage to the empire and honour to myself." 

On the 13th of October 1783, he wrote : — 

u The shameful liberties taken with my letters, both sent and 
received (for even the Speaker's letter to me had been opened), 
make me cautious on politics ; but you, who know me, will be- 
lieve that I am most deeply anxious for the events of this Irish 
session, and with every disposition to loathe and execrate our 
English ministry, even with the certainty that their measures, 
their abilities, and their intentions are little proportioned to the 
exigencies of the State, I am still too warmly anxious for the 
peace and unity of the empire not to wish to Government in 
Ireland every success in the arduous task of this winter." 

It was no wonder that Ireland was discontented. The 

both parties. Lord Shelburne's speech gives great satisfaction here, and 
probably it' there had been any chance of soothing this country into 
moderation, would have done infinite mischief. It is curious enough 
that "while he is recommending us to support the authority of England 
more than we either can or, I think, ought to do, he should be declaring 
in the House of Lords that the claims of Ireland must be acceded to." 



private correspondence of the times between those who pro- 
fessed to govern her, afford ample evidence that while they 
disagreed totally as to how she should be governed, they 
agreed thoroughly that she should not be allowed a voice 
in her own government ; above all, that she should not be 
allowed prosperity, commercial or otherwise. 

Men asked in one breath, " What did Ireland want? 
and what were her grievances ? " but when she told them, 
they were flung aside with contempt, or silenced by force. 

If any man dared to speak for her, and boldly proclaim 
her wrongs, he was a malcontent; if any man ventured 
to suggest physical force, he was a rebel. America was 
quoted to her quite as a model theoretically, but practi- 
cally we all know the result when she attempted to follow 
this example. 

The truth was, England did not choose to listen. What 
were the most cogent arguments to her, when she had 
formed her resolve, and did not intend to alter it ? Grattan 
told her in plain, clear, unmisrepresentable language what 
Ireland did not want, and what she did want. She did not 
want "a foreign judicature ; " English rule in Ireland 
was no better. The Englishmen who ruled Ireland did 
not consider it their home, much less did they consider it 
their fatherland, which they should honour, for whose 
prosperity they should work, heart and soul. The one 
question with them was, not what will benefit Ireland, but 
what will benefit England. When an act of the commonest 


justice was proposed for Ireland, the first observation was 
not, We must grant it — it is justice : but, Will it ever in 
the least interfere with English interests? This is no mere 
assertion. There is ample proof of it. 

Ireland was told to be " reasonable," which meant that 
she was to be thankful for such little permission to trade 
as certainly could not divert a ship-load of any manufac- 
ture from England, even by the remotest possibility. 

If concessions were asked, the petition was quietly 
shelved. If they were demanded, it was considered an 
insult, and an ample reason for refusing them. 

If the interests of a great realm were not concerned, 
if the interests of men who were equals were not con- 
cerned, one could afford to smile at such folly. It was 
a schoolboy axiom carried out by great men in politi- 
cal life. If you will not ask, how can we know what 
you want? if you do ask, be assured you shall not get 
what you ask. There was evermore something wrong in 
that which was asked for, or in the manner of the 
asking. Practically it mattered little, for the result was 
just the same. 1 

1 Sir Richard Heron wrote thus to Mr Robinson from Dublin Castle 
on the 20th August 1779 : " The unusual sum of money now wanted, 
the low state of the revenue, and the general distress of the kingdom, 
considered together, give great reason to apprehend a very difficult ses- 
sion. It will, however, be my Lord-Lieutenant's utmost endeavour that 
the affairs of this kingdom may embarrass his Majesty and his British 
servants a? little as possible." — Beresford Corresponde?ice, vol. i. p. 47. 


Meanwhile the state of the country was becoming daily 
worse. Ireland was to be allowed only the " gleanings " 1 
of commerce, though her worst enemies admitted she could 
not live on them ; she was to be " reasonable," 3 though 
the same persons declared the kingdom was in such a dis- 
tress, it " puzzled 4 all [English] comprehension" what it 
might do. 

2 " Ireland is certainly a great kingdom ; but the idea of its supporting, 
upon the gleanings of commerce (for such only it can carry on during a 
war), its continual drains to Great Britain, and a military establishment 
sufficient to defend itself, is certainly ill-founded. Prepare, therefore, 
to give handsomely, but upon proper terms, some material extension of 
their commerce. Whatever commerce this kingdom carries on legally 
will prejudice yours less than their carrying it on, as they have hitherto 
done, illicitly." — Letter of Sir Richard Heron to Mr Robinson, August 20, 

3 " That no extension (by trade) of any value can be given without the 
exertion of Government, nor without occasioning great discontent in 
many parts of England ; and, therefore, unless Ireland is likely to be 
satisfied with reasonable extensions, they may be assured his Majesty's 
servants will preserve good-humour at home by not giving their suppwi t 
to any, and that the gentlemen of this country will have the ill humours 
they excite to pacify, or the kingdom will go into a state of confusion, 
which cannot but have very serious consequences to all gentlemen who 
possess property here." — Beresford Correspondence, vol. i. p. 50. 

4 " This kingdom is in such a state as puzzles all comprehension as to 
what it may do : a multitude of idlers miserably poor ; a debt, small as 
it is, without a shilling to pay interest ; the skeleton of a force not in 
his Majesty's service, which it may be difficult to deal, or madness to 
meddle with ; taxes to be imposed, and no material for imposition ; a 
great deal of ignorance ; a great deal of prejudice ; a most over- 
grown hierarchy, and a most oppressed peasantry ; property by some 
late determinations of the Lords upon covenants for perpetual renewals 
of leases very much set at sea, and no means to a multitude of families 


Ireland did not want a " foreign judicature." She 
wanted an impartial administration, and that could not be 
given to her by men whose one idea was not justice, 
but English interests. She did not want a " legis- 
lative Privy Council," nor a " perpetual army." The 
" perpetual army" for which she was compelled to pay 

to supply its place ; rents fallen, and a general disposition to riot and 
mischief."— Letter from the Attorney-General to Mr Robinson, dated Har- 
court Street, Dublin, April 13, 1779. The Attorney-General was created 
Earl of Clonmel in 1793. He was a clever but utterly unscrupulous 
politician, and by no means choice in his language. He certainly had 
little respect for the Protestant Church, of which he was a member. 

Rowans "Autobiography" records a strange dialogue between Lord 
Clonmel and a bookseller named Byrne, whose shop he visited on seeing 
Rowan's trial advertised. One sentence will convey an idea of the col- 
loquy, as well as of the times in which such language could be hazarded 
by a judge. "Take care, sir, what you do; I give you this caution ; 
ibr if there are any reflections on the judges of the land, by the eternal 
G — I will lay you by the heels." 

Lord Clonmers health and spirits gradually broke down, and accounts 
of his death were daily circulated. On one of these occasions, when he 
was really very ill, a friend said to Curran, " Well, they say Clonmel is 
going to die at last Do you believe it?" "I believe," said Curran, 
"he is scoundrel enough to live or die, just as it suits his own con- 
venience!" Shortly before the death of Lord Clonmel, Mr Lawless, 
afterwards Lord Cloncurry, had an interview with him, when the chief 
exclaimed, " My dear Val, I have been a fortunate man through life ; I 
am a chief-justice and an earl : but were I to begin the world again, 
1 vould rather be a chimney-sweeper, than connected with the Irish 

His family published his diary for private circulation. It is an 
amusing and not very edifying production. For fuller accounts of him, see 
"The Sham Squire, or the Reformers of ; 98," — a most curious and inter- 
esting work, giving details never before published of the state of Ireland 



was a necessary consequence of the "foreign judicature." 8 
She asked u nothing but what was essential to her liberty," 
and she heard this powerful argument enforced by one of 
the best and ablest of her sons. She only asked what 

at this eventful period. Lord Clonmel, it is stated, enriched himself by 
a gross breach of trust, which, however, was then perfectly legal. It 
would appear that the lady whom lie defended was his own step- 

The author of " The Sham Squire " was informed by a very respectable 

solicitor, Mr H , that in looking over Lord Clonmel's rentals, he 

was struck by the following note written by his lordship's agent, in 
reference to the property Brolnaduff. " Lord Clonmel, when Mr 
Scott, held this in trust for a Roman Catholic, who, owing to the opera- 
tion of the Popery laws, was incapacitated from keeping it in his own 
hands. When reminded of the trust. Mr Scott refused to acknowledge 
i% and thus the property fell into the Clonmel family." The key to 
this is found in a paragraph in Walker's Hibernian Magazine for July 
1797. We read, p. 97, — " Edward Byrne of Mullinahack, Esq., to Miss 
Roe, step-daughter to the Earl of Clonmel, and niece to Lord Viscount 
Llandaff." Hereby hangs a tale. Miss Roe was understood to have a 
large fortune, and when Mr Byrne applied to Lord Clonmel for it, his 
lordship shuffled, saying, " Miss Roe is a lapsed Papist, and I avail 
myself of the laws which I administer to withhold the money." Mr 
Byrne filed a bill, in which he recited the evasive reply of Lord Clon- 
mel. The chief-justice never answered the bill, and treated Mr Byrne's 
remonstrances with contempt. These facts transpire in the legal docu- 
ments held by Mr H . Too often the treachery manifested by the 

rich in positions of trust, at the calamitous period in question, contrasted 
curiously with the tried fidelity observed by some needy persons in a 
similar capacity. Moore, in his " Memoirs of Captain Rock," mentions 
the case of a poor Protestant barber, who, though his own property did 
not exceed a few pounds in value, actually held in lee the estates of 
most of the Catholic gentry of the county. He adds, that this estimable 
man was never known to betray his trust." 

5 See Grattan's Letter, at the end of this chapter. 



Englishmen considered indispensable for themselves. The 
burden of proof lay on them. They were bound to show, 
if they could; why they denied Ireland that justice which 
was the pride and boast of their own country. 

Mr Fox wrote a politely evasive reply. He assured Mr 
Grattan that he considered Irish affairs " very import- 
ant," but that it would be " imprudent" to meddle with 
f iiem. He wrote the usual platitudes about ardent wishes 
to satisfy both countries. He probably knew as well, or 
better, than any living man that he could not satisfy both 
countries, so long as justice to Ireland was considered 
injustice to England. 

Mr Fox wrote a private letter at the same time to 
Mr Fitzpatrick, in which he said that his answer to 
Grattau's letter was " perfectly general," 6 which was per- 
fectly true. 

The result, however, was favourable. Grattan's appeal 
was considered and accepted. The Act of the 6th George I., 
entitled, " An Act for the Better Securing the Dependency 
of Ireland upon the Crown of Great Britain," was repealed. 

On the 27th of May 1782, when the Irish Houses met, 
after an adjournment of three weeks, the Duke of Portland 
announced the unconditional concessions which had been 
made to Ireland by the English Parliament. Mr Grattan in- 
terpreted the concession in the fullest sense, and moved an 

6 Correspondence of Charles James Fox. 




address, ' ; breathing the generous sentiments of his noble 
and confiding nature/' Mr Flood and a few other mem- 
bers took a different and more cautious view of the case. 
They wished for something more than a simple repeal of the 
Act of the 6th George L, and they demanded an express 
declaration that England would not interfere with Irish 
affairs. But the address was carried by a division of 211 
to 2 ; and the House, to show its gratitude, voted that 
20,000 Irish seamen should be raised for the British navy, 
at a cost of £100,000, and that £50,000 should be given to 
purchase an estate and build a house for Mr Grattan, whose 
eloquence had contributed so powerfully to obtain what 
they hoped would prove justice to Ireland. 

If even a small majority of the Irish Parliament had 
been men whose interests were Irish, there is no doubt that 
Ireland would have prospered. Even as it was, the last 
years of her nominal independence were her best years. 

There were three causes which proved the ruin of Irish 
independence. First, the volunteers were quietly and 
cleverly suppressed. 7 There was no noise, no commotion ; 

1 How terribly afraid Government was of the volunteers is evident 
from the following documents. On the 31st October 1783, General 
Burgoyne wrote to Mr Fox : — 

" Add to this the apprehensions that timid and melancholy specu- 
lators entertain upon the meeting of the Convention of Delegates the 
10th of next month. I have not myself any idea of serious commotion, 
but we have strengthened the garrison of Dublin, and it might be 
thought wrong in the commander-in-chief to be absent. You have, 



it was a simple extinction. Men might talk as they 
pleased, but without an armed force to give at least a 
physical impression to their words, the talk was a breath, 
and nothing more. Secondly individual members of Par- 
liament were bribed, sometimes with place, sometimes with 

doubtless, the fullest information of the proceedings and language of the 
Bishop of Deny, and of the mode in which the friends of Government 
mean to meet the question of Parliamentary Reform, if urged other- 
wise than by application to Parliament." — Fox's Correspondence, vol. ii. 
p. 180. 

Lord "Worth ington wrote from Dublin Castle on November 30, sug- 
gesting that they should be got rid of politely : — 

"If this business goes off, as I sanguinely hope it may, and the ad- 
dress should go to the king, an answer of temper and firmness at the 
same time would highly suit the present state of things ; such as a 
retrospective compliment to the conduct of the volunteers, and disap- 
probation of their present meeting,— a hope, expectation, or advice of 
their disbanding themselves." 

On the 17th November, General Burgoyne wrote again : — 

"A greater embarrassment yet has arisen in the Convention, which 
you will see in print — viz., the interfeience (but upon different prin- 
ciples) of the Catholics. By the mouth of Lord Kenmare, they relin- 
quish their pretensions to suffrages at elections ; by the mouth of Sir 
Patrick Bellew, they assert them. I wish they did so more soundly, 
for I am clearly of opinion that every alarm of the increase of Catholic 
interest and prevalence beyond the present limits — which give them in 
the general opinion all the share of rights necessary for their happiness, 
and consistent with the safety of their Protestant fellow-subjects — every 
idea, I think, of an extension of their claims, excites new jealous)'- and 
dread of the volunteers, and cements and animates the real friends of the 
constitution, and surely with reason ; for, upon the very principle of 
free and conscientious suffrage, nothing can be more impossible than a 
Protestant representative chosen by Catholic electors." 

The last clause is amusing. " Free and conscientious suffrage " would 
have allowed Catholic electors to elect Catholic representative*. 



pension, sometimes with rank. It was quite the same in 
which form the bribe was given or taken, the work was 

And, thirdly, the press was bribed ; and, moreover, this 
was done more or less openly. On the 23d of January 1 789, 
Mr Griffith complained in his place in Parliament that the 
" newspapers seemed under some very improper influence. 
In one paper the country was described as one scene of 
riot and confusion ; in another all is peace. By the 
proclamations that are published in them, and which are 
kept in for years, in order to make the fortunes of 
some individuals, the kingdom is scandalised and dis- 
graced through all the nations of the world where our 
newspapers are read. The proclamations are a libel on 
the country. Was any offender ever taken up in con- 
sequence of such publications ? And are they not rather 
a hint to offenders to change their situation and appear- 
ance ? He did hope, from what a right honourable 
gentleman had said last year, that this abuse would have 
been redressed, but ministers have not deigned to give 
any answer on the subject." 

Proclamations were actually kept up when the country 
was at peace, so that strangers would suppose that Ireland 
was a " savage nation ;" — not the last time by any means 
that it was similarly misrepresented. Newspapers were 
also distributed gratuitously through the country. 

On the 27th August 1781, Mr Eden wrote to Lord North, 


complaining cf the "sickening circumstances" of an Irish 
secretaryship, and concluded his letter thus: — 

" My Lord-Lieutenant has repeatedly written to your lord- 
ship, both through me and through Lord Hillsborough, on the 
essential importance of obtaining from you some small help of 
secret service money. We have hitherto, by the force of good 
words, and with some degree of private expense, preserved an 
ascendency over the press, not hitherto known here, and it is of 
an importance equal to ten thousand times its cost ; but we are 
without the means of continuing it, nor have we any fund to 
resist the factious attempts among the populace, which may occa- 
sionally be serious. 

" Believe me, my dear Lord, ever respectfully and affectionat ely 
yours, " Wm. Eden. ' 

On the 13th September, he wrote again on the same 
8ubject : — 

" Our session is drawing desperately near, and all preparations 
for it are much interrupted by this alarm of an invasion. We 
much regret that your lordship has not found any means to assist 
us in the article of secret service. The press is the principal 
operative power in the government of this kingdom; and we are 
utterly without means to influence that power. We are equally 
without means to counteract the wicked attempts occasionally 
made in the idle and populous part of this town to raise mobs, 
and to turn the rabble against ministers ; having, however, re- 
peatedly represented these points, ' which nobody can deny,' we 
have done all that we can do, and must continue to steer through 
the various difficulties of this government as well as we can, 
without troops and without money, in the face of an armed 
people and general poverty." 

In 1789, Irish politics were complicated by the regency 



question. Mr Pitt opposed, and Mr Fox 8 supported the 
unrestricted regency of the Prince of Wales. The Irish 
Parliament issued an address " requesting that his Royal 
Highness would take upon himself the government of 
Ireland during the continuation of the king's indispo- 
sition." Grattan headed the independent party. Some 
curious particulars of the fashion in which Ireland was 
governed came out. The Lord-Lieutenant, Lord Rook* 
ingham. positively refused to forward the address, and 

8 Mr Fox was then at Bath to recruit his health. He had duffrred 
severely from his hurried journey home from Boulogne on hearing of the 
king's illness. He wrote on Irish affairs to Mr Fitzpatrick on the 17th 
February 1789, from Bath :— 

" Dear Dick, — You have heard before this of our triumphant majority 
in the House of Lords in Ireland, but I think one of the best parts oi 
the news is the address having been put off till yesterday, which seema 
to remove all apprehension of the difficulty which you mention in your 
letter, and which in effect appears to me to be a very serious one. The 
delegation cannot leave Dublin till to-morrow ; and as prooably it will 
not be composed of persons who travel like couriers, the Prince will not 
be able to make an answer till he is actually Regent here. I think this 
object so material that our friends ought more than ever to avoid any- 
thing that tends to delay here. 

" If the bill is passed there can be no difficulty in the Prince's 
answer, which must be acceptance, with expression of sensibility to the 
confidence in him. If, in spite of my calculations, he should be obliged 
to make his answer before the bill has passed — which, by the way, i 
hardly think possible — it must be couched in some general terms to 
which the acts he will do in a few days after must give the construction 
of acceptance. The fact is, our friends have gone too fast in Dublin ; 
but how could they conceive our extreme slowness here 1" — Correspond- 
ence of Charles James Fox, vol. ii. p. 301. Ireland, loyal or disloyal, waa 
sure to be in the wrong. 

FA TRIO TISM V A7.V U > /> J ]'. 


Parliament was obliged to send delegates. Previous to 
their departure, tlie following resolution was carried by 
115 to S3: "That his Excellency's answer to both 
Houses of Parliament, requesting him to transmit their 
address to his Royal Highness, is ill-advised, contains 
an unwarrantable and unconstitutional censure on the 
proceedings of both Houses, and attempts to question the 
undoubted rights and privileges of the Lords spiritual and 
temporal, and of the Commons of Ireland.'' 

A desperate struggle now T commenced between the 
viceroy and the Parliament. It resolved itself into pa- 
triotism versus pay. Men who had no personal interest 
in the country could not be expected to be very patriotic, 
and pay carried the day. 

Peerages were sold openly and shamelessly, and the 
money thus obtained was spent in bribing those to whom 
money was more necessary, or more gratifying than "auk. 
Mr Firzgibbon gave it to be understood that half a million 
of money was placed in his hands for this purpose, and he 
casually confessed that one address of thanks to Lord Town- 
eend had cost the nation £500,000 a few j-ears before. 

Grattan, Curran, and Ponsonby offered to prove this 
bribery at the time, but they were not allowed. Grattan's 
voice, however, could not be easily silenced ; and he ob- 
served at a later period : — 

" The threat w r as put into its f idlest execution ; the canvass of 
the minister was everywhere— in the House of Commons, in the 


lobby, in the street, at the door of the parliamentary undertakers, 
lapped at and worn by the little caitiffs of Government, who 
offered amnesty to some, honours to others, and corruption to all ; 
and where the word of the viceroy was doubted, they offered their 
own. According!}^, we find a number of parliamentary provisions 
were created, and divers peerages sold, with such effect, that the 
same Parliament which had voted the chief governor a criminal, 
did immediately after give that very governor implicit support.'* 9 
" They began," said Curran, "with the sale of the honour of the 
peerage — the open and avowed sale for money of the peerage to 
any man who was rich and shameless enough to be the pur- 
chaser." 1 

In 1790, one hundred and ten placemen sat in the 
House of Commons; and on the 11th of July, Mr Forbes 
declared that the pensions had been recently increased 
upwards of £100,000. 

It was little wonder that when O'Connell arrived in 
Dublin in 1797 he found the country on the eve of a rebel- 
lion, and the so-called Irish Parliament about to extinguish 
itself under a weight of infamy, none the less contemptible, 
because it was heavily gilded over by pecuniary greed. 


"April 18, 1782. 

" Sir, — I shall make no apology for writing ; in the present posture 
of things I should rather deem it necessary to make an apology for not 
writing. Ireland has sent an Address, stating the causes of her discon- 
tents and jealousies ; thus the question between the two nations be- 
comes capable of a specific final settlement. We are acquitted of being 

9 Life and Times of Grattan, vol. iii. p. 338. 
1 Life of Curran, vol. i. p. 240. 



indefinite in discontents and jealousies ; we have stated the grounds of 
them, and they are those particular* in which the practical constitution 
of Ireland is diametrically opposite to the principles of British liberty. 
A foreign legislation, a foreign judicature, a legislative Privy Council, 
and a perpetual army. It is impossible for any Irishman to be recon- 
ciled to any part of such a constitution, and not to hold in the most 
profound contempt the constitution of England. Thus you cannot re- 
concile us to your claim of power, without making us dangerous to your 
liberty ; and you also will, I am confident, allow that in stating such 
enormities as just causes of discontent and jealousy, we have asked 
nothing which is not essential to our liberty. Thus we have gained 
another step in the way to a settlement. "We have defined our desires 
and limited them, and committed ourselves only to what is indispensable 
to our freedom; and have this further argument, that you have thought 
it indispensable to yours. One question then only remains — whether 
what is necessary for us to have, is safe and honourable to Great 
Britain ? 

"The perpetual Mutiny Law, and the legislative power exercised by 
the councils of both kingdoms, it is scarcely necessary to dwell upon, 
inasmuch as I make no doubt you hold them to be mischievous or use- 
less to England. The legislative power of the Council can't be material 
to the connection, though the necessity of passing bills under the seal of 
Gn at Britain may be so. The power of suppressing in the Irish, and 
of altering in the English Council, never has been useful to England ; 
on the contrary, frequently the cause of embarrassment to British 
government. I have known Privy Councillors agree to bills in Parlia- 
ment, and in Council alter them materially by some strong clause in- 
serted to show their zeal to the King, at the expense of the popularity of 
Government In England, an Attorney-General, or his clerk, from 
ignorance, or corruption, or contempt, may, and often has, inserted 
clauses in Irish bills which have involved Irish Governments in lasting 
consequences with the people ; for you must see that a servant of 
Government in Great Britain, uninformed of the passions of Ireland, 
may, in the full exercise of legislative power, do irreparable mischief to 
his king and country, without being responsible to either. 

" I could mention several instances, but a Mutiny Bill rendered per- 
petual is a sufficient one, to show how impolitic that law, which com- 
mits the machine of the constitution and the passions of the human 
mind to the hand of one man. The negativing our bills is a right 



never disputed ; the poisoning them is a practice we do most ardently 
deprecate, from sound reason and sad experience 1 brought to Parlia- 
ment a list of the alterations made, for the last ten years, in Irish bills 
by the Privy Council or Attorney-General, and there was not a single 
alteration made upon a sound legislative motive ; sometimes an altera- 
tion to vex the Presbyterians, made "by the bishops ; sometimes an 
alteration made by an over zealous courtier, to make Government 
obnoxious and to render himself at the same time peculiarly acceptable 
to the king ; sometimes an alteration from ignorance, and not seldom 
for money. 

" I shall, therefore, suppose the power of the Council no object to a 
principled Administration, and no vital question between the two king- 
doms. We shall have then cleared the way to the great question of 
supremacy ; for I conceive the legislative and judicative supremacy to 
be one question. If you retain the legislative power, you must reserve 
the final determination of law, because you alone will determine the 
law, in support of your claim ; whereas, if you cede the claim, the 
question of judicature is one of private property, not national ascend- 
ency, and becomes as useless to you as it is opprobrious to us. Besides, 
there are circumstances which render the appellant judicature to you 
the most precarious thing imaginable. The Lords of Ireland have on 
their journals a resolution, that they are ready to receive appeals ; so 
that, after the final settlement with England, if the judicature was not 
included, any attorney might renew the contest. The decrees of the 
Lords of England, and of the King's Bench likewise, affecting Ireland, 
are executed by the officers of the Courts of Justice of Ireland. The judges 
of Ireland are now independent. Two of the barons, or judges, may 
put a total stop to the judicature of the Lords of England, by refusing 
to lend the process of their Courts ; so that, in order to determine your 
final judicature, it would be unnecessary to go further than the authority 
of a few judges,. independent of England by their tenure, dependent, on 
[reland by their residence, and perhaps influenced by conscience and by 
oath. Besides, the 6th of George I. is enacting as to the appealing, as 
well as the judicative power. If the former part stands, we are divested 
of our supreme judicature by an actual exercise of your supreme legis- 
lative power, and then a partial repeal would be defective upon prin- 
ciples legislative, as well as jurisdictive. You can't cexle your legislative 
claim, and enjoy your jurisdictive under its authority and exercise ; and 
the whole law must (if the claim of legislature is ceded") fall totally 



The question then "between the two nations is thus reduced to one point 
— Will England cede the claim of supremacy ? You seem willing to 
cede it. Your arguments have led to it. When I say your arguments, 
I mean the liberal and enlightened part of England. Both nations, by 
what they have said— one by what it has admitted, and the other by 
w hat it has asserted — have made the claim of England impracticable. 
The reserve of that claim, of course, becomes unprofitable odium, ?nd 
the relinquishment is an acquisition of affection without a loss of power. 
Thus the question between the two nations is brought to a mere punc- 
tilio — Can En land cede with dignity \ I submit she can ; for if she 
has consented to enable his Majesty to repeal all the laws respecting 
America, among which the Declaratory Act is one, she can with more 
majesty repeal the Declaratory Act against Ireland, who has declared 
her resolution to stand and fall with the British nation, and has stated 
her own rights by appealing not to your fears, but your magnanimity. 
You will please to observe in our Address a veneration for the pride, as 
well as a love for the liberty of England. You will see in our manner 
of transmitting the Address, we have not gone to Castle with volunteers 
is in 1779. It was expedient to resort to such a measure with your pre- 
iecasors in office. In short, sir, you will see in our requisition nothing 
bat what is essential to the liberty and composure of our country, and 
consistent with the dignity and interest of the other. These things 
granted, your Administration in Ireland will certainly meet with great 
support : I mean national as well as parliamentary. In consequence of 
these things, some laws will be necessary — an act to quiet property held 
under former judgments or decrees in England ; a Mutiny Bill ; a Bill 
to modify Poyning's Law. Possibly it might be judicious that some of 
these should be moved by the Secretary here — it would contribute to his 
popularity. It will be perhaps prudent to adjourn to some further day, 
until the present Administration have formed. 

" Before I conclude I will take the liberty to guard you against a 
Wiijar artifice, which the old Court (by that I mean the Carlisle faction) 
will incline to adopt. They will perhaps write to England false sug- 
gestions, that Ireland will be satisfied with less, and that the Irish 
Administration are sacrificing to Irish popularity British rights ; and 
then they will instigate Ireland to stand upon her ultimatum, and thus 
embarrass Government and betray the people. I know this practice 
was adopted in Lord Buckingham's Administration by men mortified 
by his frugality. 


" MWit I suggest, if you mean (as I am well inclined to believe, and 
uliall be convinced by the success of our application) a Government by 
privilege, that it would be very beneficial to the character of your 
government in Ireland, to dismiss from their official connexions with 
! Government some notorious consciences, to give a visible, as well as real, 
integrity to his Majesty's Councils in Ireland, and to relieve them 
from a certain treachery in men, who will obey you and betray you. 

" it vould be prudent to exhibit to the public eye a visible constitu 
tional Administration. The people here have a personal antipathy to 
some men here wno were the agents of former corruption, and would 
feel a vindictive delight in the justice of discarding them. When I say 
t his, I speak of a measure not necessary absolutely, if the requisitions 
are complied with, but veiy proper and very necessary to elevate the 
character of your government, and to protect from treachery your con- 
sultations ; and when I say tins, it is without any view to myself, who 
under the constitutional terms s>ec forth, am willing to take any part in 
the Administration, provided it is not emolumentary. Your minister 
here will find very great opportunities for vigorous retrenchment, such 
as will not hazard him in the House of Commons, and may create an 
enthusiasm in his favour without doors. 

" I am running into immoderate length, and beg to conclude with 
assurances of great constitutional hopes, and personal admiration, and 
am, with great respect, 

" Your most humble and obedient nervant, 

"H. Grattam. 

Cjaptcr jfonrtj}. 

1 7 90- 1 800. 






, , T tlie period when O'Connell 
I arrived in Dublin in the year 

1707, he hud heard enough of the 
y^ y state of public affairs t<> be fully 
r) 9 aware that a dark, deep, and deadly 
struggle was at hand. It had, in 
fact, already commenced. 

In 1790, the Northern AVhig Club was 
established in Belfast, at the suggestion of Lord 
Charlemont. Heform and parliamentary inde- 
pendence were its avowed and probably its real 
objects. But neither Irish nor English Protest- 
ants were as yet free from the illogical bigotry 
of prejudice, and they declared that " no person 
ought to suffer civil hardships for his religious 
persuasion, unless the tenets of his religion lead 
him to endeavour at the subversion of the State." 



There was a gleam of intelligence in the implied possi- 
bility that it might not be right, under some certain cir- 
cumstances, to persecute a man for following the dictates 
of his conscience; there was an alloy of prejudice in the 
suggestion that Catholics, who were alluded to, would, 
or did attempt to subvert the State. Possibly, however, 
and we think probably, it was a sop to the Cerberus 
of Protestant ascendency, a declaration that, though they 
were liberal, they would, under certain circumstances, be 
willing to act illiberally. It was something certainly 
to the credit of humanity that a time had arrived when 
Catholics were not avowedly persecuted without the ready 
excuse of disloyalty. 

A banquet followed, and the toast of " the glorious and 
immortal memory " was duly honoured, though probably 
nine-tenths of those who quaffed the libation to the shades 
of the departed hero, would have been sorely puzzled to tell 
why he was styled " glorious," and, having serious doubts 
as to the immortality of the human race, would hardly 
have believed in his. 

Lord Clare termed it an "eating and drinking clubh- 
and no doubt it was. There was certainly a good deal of 
drinking. On the 14th July 1791, the anniversary of the 
French Revolution was celebrated by the Protestant 
patriots, and they drank to the memoiy of " Thomas 
Paine," and " the rights of man," to " the glorious: 
memory," and to " the majesty of the people." Notwith- . 



standing all this drinking, or perhaps because of it, the 
club died out. 

But the principles which animated the club did not die 
out. It died of respectability. When some of the men 
who had helped to inaugurate it found that the club meant 
something more than talking and drinking, they gradual ly 
withdrew. Lord Charlemont had been a member, and 
Lord de Clifford, and the Earl of Moira, and the Hon. 
Robert Stewart, afterwards Lord Castlereagb. But the 
men who really instituted it were there still. Henry Joy, 
M'Cracken, Russell, and, above all, Samuel Neilson, set 
themselves to form another club, a political club. Mr 
Neilson went further than his friends; he suggested that 
Catholics should be permitted to join it. 

Perhaps he saw that such a movement as he contem- 
plated could not be effected without the co-operation of 
his Catholic fellow-subjects.' It was very well to talk of 

* The following extracts from the "Lives and Times of the United 
Irishmen," second series, vol. i. p. 79, will show how the blameless and 
exemplary life of a poor Catholic servant was the means of removing pre- 
judice. Alter all. personal knowledge of Catholics in private life seldom 
failed tu do so. 

" Neilson on this occasion said, 1 Oar efforts for reform hitherto have 
been ineffectual, and they deserved to be so, for they have been selfish 
and unjust, as not including the rights of the Catholics in the claims we 
put forward for ourselves,' The evening of that day, when the subject 
was first mooted, M'Cracken, on his return home, mentioned thecircum- 
htantc to a member of his family, who, in reference to the proposed club, 
expressed some doubts of Roman Catholics being sutficiently enlightened 
to co-jperate with them, or to be trusted by their party, M'Cracken, 




public action, but public action required men to act, and 
the handful of Protestants, however important they might 
be in the eyes of Government, had not material strength 
For any movement requiring physical force. Whether the 
United Irishmen looked to physical force at the commence- 
ment of their career or not, we cannot say, but there are 
many reasons for supposing that they did. In the first 
place, they were ardent admirers of the French Revolution; 
in the second place, they had a good many years' experi- 
ence of the uselessness of addresses and petitions. 

The famous Dun cannon convention was held on the 
26th of December 1792; Neilson acted as secretary. A 
Protestant clergyman, the Rev. Mr Kelburne, used some 
strong language about " our boasted constitution," and 
some language which must have then sounded rather 

with great earnestness, endeavoured to show the groundlessness of the 
prejudices that were entertained against the Catholics. His opinions 
were shared by one of his sisters (to whom I am indebted for these par- 
ticulars), a person even then in advance of public opinion on the subject 
in question, and whose noble sentiments on most matters were above 
the level of those of ordinary mind's. Her brother, she. informs me, 
asked the relative who had expressed the apprehensions referred to, il 
there was not a poor old blind woman under their roof, who had spent 
the best part of her life in their family, and although she was a Roman 
Catholic, was there anything in this world they would not trust to hei 
fidelity ? and if they put their whole confidence in her because they 
happened to be acquainted with her, why should thfty think .so ill ti 
those of the same creed whom they did not know ? Ihese details, 1 rivial 
as they may seem, are calculated to throw some light on the original 
views and principles of those persons who were the founders of ih« 
Northern Society of United Irishmen." 



treasonable about " hereditary legislation M not being 
desirable, because lords did not always inherit wisdom 
with their rank. 

On the loth of July 1793, however, the delegates had a 
Meeting, and expressed themselves a little more cautiously. 
They passed resolutions disapproving of a republican form 
of government for their own country, and expressed their 
belief that Catholic Emancipation was necessary for the 
safety of the country. 1 

The Catlmlic- came forward now, but not without con- 
siderable trepidation. Accustomed to centuries of perse- 
cution, they had hitherto only bowed to the tempest as it 
passed over them, except in some rare instances when war 

3 At a public meeting held in Belfast, on the 19th of January 1793, 
in address to his Majesty was determined on, signed, by order of the 
meeting, and in their name, by Charles Rankin, chairman, and Samuel 
Neilson, se cretary ; expressive of their gratitude for his Majesty's " re- 
ebmmendation of the situation of their Catholic brethren and fellow- 
subjects to the attention of the Irish Parliament;" and conveying the 
wannest sentiments of loyalty and attachment to his Majesty's person. 

At another meeting held in Belfast, on the 28th of January 1792, the 
particulars of which will be found in the appendix, Neilaon took an 
active part. In reply to an opinion expressed by Mr Henry Joy, " That 
neither the Protestant mind was sufficiently prepared to grant, nor the 
Catholic one universally prepared to receive, a plenary and immediate* 
exercise of every right which members of a State can possibly possess ; w 
— NeUson expressed his "astonishment at hearing that or any part of 
the address called a Catholic question \* To his understanding, " it no 
more presented a Roman Catholic question than a Church question, a 
Presbyterian, a Quaker, an Anabaptist, or a mountain question. The 
true question teas, whether Irishmen should be free," 



seemed the only hope of obtaining liberty to worship God 
as their conscience bade them. The plan was prepared by 
Theobald Wolfe Tone, a Protestant. The Catholics were 
to meet openly, and proceed openly. Five gentlemen were 
chosen to bear their address to the king. These gentlemen 
were Sir Thomas French, Mr Byrne, Mr Keogh, Mr Deve- 
reanx, and Mr Bellew. They went through Belfast on 
their way to London. It was not their direct road cer- 
tainly, but the Protestant leaders of the United Irishmen 
received them in triumph, and the northern Presbyterians 
showed their advancement in political enlightenment by 
removing the horses from their carriage, and dragging 
them in triumph through the town. 

The delegates had chosen an opportune moment for theil 
visit to royalty. There were fears both within and without; 
war imminent in Europe ; and in England there were ter- 
rible apprehensions of domestic riot. Several associations 
had been formed in England demanding Parliamentary 
reform, or seeking to obtain it ; hence it was necessary 
that war in Ireland should be averted, even at the cost of 
a few concessions. 4 

* On the 13th December 1792, at the opening of the session, the king 
addressed Parliament thus, on the state of England :— "The seditious 
practices which had been in a great measure checked by your firm and 
explicit declaration in the last session, and by the general concurrence 
of my people in the same sentiments, have of late been more openly 
renewed, and with increased activity. A spirit of tumult and disorder 
(the natural consequence of such practices) has shown itself in acts of 



Several acts were passed to avert the danger, but Irish- 
men had begun to know their power, the power of united 
IrisLmer ; and when the Portland ministry was formed in 
j ^04, it was found that something more substantial was 
Itecessary. Lord Fitzwilliam was appointed Lord-Lieu- 
tenant, and for the first time G rattan was taken into the 
counc ils of the so-called Irish Government. On the 12th 

riot and insurrection, which required the interposition of a military force 
in support of the civil magistrate. The industry employed to excite dis- 
content on various pretexts, and in different parts of the kingdom, lias 
appeared to proceed from a de.»ign to attempt the destruction of our 
happy constitution, and the subversion of all order and govemmeut ; 
and this design has evidently been pursued in connection and concert 
with persons in foreign countries." 

Lord John Russell observes, in his " Correspondence of Fox," vol iiL 
p. 33 : u England, Prussia, and Austria, with lofty pretensions of fight- 
ing for the cause of religion and order, had each separate and selfish 
objects, while the French, united and enthusiastic, fought for a mock 
liberty, but a real independence. "With the Allies it was a war some- 
times of principles ; sometimes of provinces ; sometimes to restore a 
monarchy, sometimes to acquire Martinique. With the French the 
most horrible tyranny, the most systematic murder and plunder at 
home, were accompanied by the most brilliant courage, the most 
scientific plans of campaign, and the most entire devotion to the glory 
of their country." 

Mr Fox wrote thus to Lord Holland, June 14, 1793 : " I believe the 
love of political liberty is not an error ; but, if it is one, I am sure I 
never shall be converted from it — and I hope you never will. If it be 
an illusion, it is one that has brought forth more of the best qualities 
and exertions of the human mind than all other causes put together ; and 
it serves to give an interest in the affairs of the world which, without it, 
would be insipid ; but it is unnecessary to preach to you upon this sub- 
ject. It was only when political liberty was asked for in Ireland tnat 
it ceased to meet with the admiration of English statesmen." 



of July, lie obtained leave to bring in a bill for the relief of 
( 'a I holies, three members only dissenting. 

But once more the nation was duped; Lord Fitzwilliam 
was recalled on the 24tn of March. Whether the English 
Government really intended to do anything for Ireland or 
not, can never now be known. If they intended justice, it 
was a pitMpie intention should not have been carried out ; 
if they played a deceitful game, they might have learned by 
the result that honesty, even in political matters, is the best, 
because it is the wisest policy. Lord Fitzwilliam indeed 
declared that he would never have undertaken the govern- 
ment, if Catholic Emancipation had not been included in 
the ministerial programme. Possibly Mr Pitt expected to 
find him a more pliant tool, and recalled him when he 
found the metal not malleable. 5 

5 " There were some members of the Irish Parliament certainly not 
disposed to favour the Catholic claims, who saw the folly of this kind ol 
government. Sir Lawrence Parsons said : « That the grant of supplies 
and the redress of grievances should go hand in hand. The only security 
the country had was a short Money Bill ; it had been tried in 1771) ; it 
had been tried in 1789 ; and, in both instances, had been of utility. The 
people had been led to expect great measures ; their hopes had been 
raised, and now were about to be blasted. If the Cabinet of Great Britain 
had held out an assent to the Catholic question, and had afterwards 
retracted, it was an insult to the nation which the House should resent. 
There had been no meetings ; no petitions of the Protestants against the 
claims of the Catholics. It would thence be inferred that their senti- 
ments were nor adverse to the emancipation ; this was held out as the 
leading measure of administration ; the Responsibility Bill was an- 
other ; the Reform Bill was another. In consideration of these measures 
additional taxes had been voted to the amount of £250,000 : but now it 



But the Engli.-h Government were perfectly well aware 
of the certain result of this treachery. It has been said 
again and again, that Mr Pitt wished to drive the Irish 
into rebellion in order to effect the Union. Whether 
be deliberately took measures to that effect or not, cannot 
now be discovered, but his public acts sufficiently show 
that if he had not that intention, he was at least fully 
aware that what he did, aud what he omitted to do, would 
alike lead to that result. His conduct was mean and 
dastardly; no noble-minded man would have deceived a 
helpless and confident people as he deceived the Irish 

" It was not until the Irish Parliament had submitted to 
heavy burdens, not only by providing for the security of 
the kingdom by great military establishments, but like- 
wise by assisting the empire at large in the moment of its 
greatest distress, by aids great and unparalleled beyond all 
example ; it was not till Lord Fitzwilliam's popularity had 
induced the House of Commons, on the faith of popular 

appeared that the country had been duped — that nothing was to be done 
tot the p2up]e. If the British minister persisted in such infatuation, 
discontent would be at its height, the army must be increased, and 
every man must have dragoons in his house/ The motion was rejected 
by 146 to 24. Mr Conolly then proposed three resolutions : — 'That 
Lord Fitzwilliam by his public conduct since his arrival in Ireland de- 
served the thanks of the House, and the confidence of the people.' Never 
in the h istory of any nation can there be found such duplicity, such 
treachery, and such meanness as was practised towards the people oi 
Ireland."— Lift of G'rattan, vol. iv. p. 18a 



questions, to grant the largest supply ever demanded, and 
B larger army than had ever before been voted in Ireland ; 
it was not till he had laid a foundation for increasing the 
established force of the country, and procured a vote of 
£200,00C for the general defence of the empire, and 
'J 0,000 men for the navy, and a supply to the amount of 
£1,800,000, that the British Cabinet proceeded to notice 
and reply to Lord Fitzwil Ham's letters. Then, for the first 
time, the dismissal of Mr Cooke and Mr Beresford was 
complained of, and made a charge against Lord Fitzwilliam; 
then, and not till then, commenced the accusations against 
him as to the Catholic question, and his imputed design to 
overturn the constitution in Church and State. But a re- 
ference to the proceedings on this subject will show the 
futility of this charge, and that it was a mere pretext. 
Let it be recollected that this question, though opposed in 
1793 by Lord Westmoreland and his friends, had been sup- 
ported by Mr Hobart (the Irish Secretary), and the British 
Cabinet ; that Mr Pitt and Mr Dundas (Lord Melville), 
had given it their support ; that they had communicated 
their intentions to the Catholic agents in London, and 
their expressions (well remembered and often quoted) 
were, that "they would not risk a rebellion in Ireland on 
such a question ; " yet the very man who had actually agreed 
to it, in conference with Mr Grrattan and Lord Fitzwilliam, 
and to the former of whom he had used these very remark- 
able words, " I have taken office, and I have done so be- 



cause I knew there was to be an entire change of system," 
— this Duke of Portland, in his letter to Lord Fitzwilliam, 
gays that " to defer the Catholic question was not only a 
thing to be desired for the present, but the means of doing 
a greater service to the British empire than it has beeu 
curable of receiving since the Revolution, or at least since 
the Union." 

On the receipt of this letter, Lord Fitzwilliam immedi- 
ately acted with a spirit and resolution worthy of him. lie 
wrote to Mr Pitt, defended the dismissal of Mr Beresford, 
as necessary to the eilicaey of his government, and left the 
minister to choose between him and Mr Beresford. lie 
wrote the 6ame night to the Duke of Portland, stating his 
surprise at their resisting a question that had been long 
since agreed upon, and this at the expiration of such an 
interval of time — namely, from the 8th of January, when 
he first wrote about the Catholic question, to the 8th of 
February, when it was first objected to by the English 

He stated the danger of hesitation or resistance, and he 
refused to be the person to raise a flame in the country, 
that nothing short of arms could keep down ; and left him 
to determine whether, if he was not to be supported, he 
ought not to be removed. 6 

• Life of Grattan, vol. iv. p. 193.— The Beresfords knew their power 
well. They knew also, though they raised a " No Popery " cry, that 
the leaders and tirst movers of the United Irishmen, wlom they styled 



On the 25th of February 1795, Mr Forbes wrote to Mr 
Sergeant Adair. He concluded his letter thus: "It is 
reported that Pitt intends to overturn the Irish Cabinet by 
rejecting Catholic claims. Should he pursue that line, 
England will be involved in inextricable confusion, and it 
will end in the total alienation of Ireland." 

Burke wrote to Mr Grattan, expressing his indignation 
at the wa}' in which he had been treated. In the English 
Parliament, there was a scene of mutual recrimination con- 
cerning the recall of Lord Fitzwilliam, but no one con- 
cerned himself much about the effect that this would have 
in Ireland. 

The truth was that the Beresfords had determined from 
the first to get rid of the Lord-Lieutenant, and they suc- 

" devils," were Protestants. It mattered little to tliem how Ireland 
Buffered so they held place and pension. On the 4th Sept. 1796, Ml 
Beresford wrote to his friend Lord Auckland :— 

" The United Irishmen of the north, alias the Dissenters and the 
Defenders, and the Papists would join them ; these two classes are 
bound by oaths, &c, whilst the mob and common people, not sworn, 
M ould take advantage, and plunder everybody, and commit murders and 
such extravagances as are always the consequences of letting loose th« 
rabble. The utmost pains have been taken by these devils, the United 
Irishmen, to prepare the minds of the different classes of the people for 
mischief. The public prints are of the most seditious and inflammatory 
species. They have a vast number of emissaries constantly going 
through the country, to seduce every person they can, and swear them ; 
they have songs and prophecies, just written, stating all late events and 
what is to happen, as if made several years ago, in order to persuade th* 
people that, as a great part of them has already come to pass, so tha 
remainder will certainly happen." 



ceeded. 7 Lord Fitzwilliam was perfectly aware of the 
cause of his dismissal, but he seems to have felt the decep- 
tion which had been practised ou the Irish nation far more 
than the injury done to himself. 

Lord Camden succeeded, and as the Government had 
anine apprehensions lest the Catholics should avenge t.hem- 
eelves in any way for the duplicity with which they had 
been treated, it was proposed to establish the College of 
Maynooth. The excuse to those who objected to granting 
even the least favour to Catholics, had the advantage of 
being a plausible one. It was evident that no amount of 
penal laws would prevent Catholics from becoming priests ; 
it was evident, it was indeed a matter of fact, that if they 
were not allowed to be educated in Ireland, they would be 
educated abroad. It was said that being educated abroad 
tended to render them disloyal ; and certainly to deny a man 
education in his own country, and oblige him to endure the 
labour and expense of expatriation in order to obtain it, was 

I Lord Auckland worked up the Beresford interest in London quietly, 
and with the steady determination which generally insures success. The 
Beresfords held their power solely on a " No Popery " cry. Any 
liberality— or, to speak more correctly, justice to Catholics — was latal 
to their continuance in power, because they had made their political 
success depend on their religious bigotry. Mr Beresford, of course, 
denied his great political power, but even in the letter which he wrote 
himself to Lord Auckland, who acted as his ambassador in the affair, he 
\rrote so strongly of his "power of embarrassing Govern ment," that Lord 
Auckland thought it best to keep back that part of his letter even from 
his patron, Mr Pitt. — Bereaford Correspondence, vol. ii. pp. 56-84. 



not naturally the best method of inducing affection for the 
power which compelled this course. It was, moreover, 
believed that if Government endowed Maynooth the Irish 
hierarchy would feel bound in return to support Govern- 
ment. It was at least certain to all but the most obtuse 
that a rebellion was imminent in Ireland, and this seemed 
a probable means of enlisting the Catholic clergy on the 
side of England. 

The times were becoming daily more and more troubled, 
principally because the condition of the people was becoming 
daily worse. When men are starving, when they know 
that their starvation is caused by injustice, they are seldom 
slow to redress their wrongs. How patiently the Irish can 
suffer when famine comes to them as a direct visitation 
from God, has been proved in later years. It is probable 
the poor Irish Catholics of the south would have suffered as 
patiently if they had not been roused to resistance by the 
stern Presbyterians of the north, and if the newly-formed 
Orange Society had not been allowed to attack them with 

The state of Ireland at this period was certainly fearfdJ 
and an eternal disgrace to those by whom it was governed. 

A Protestant writer says : — 

" The Government thought, at least, to retain the Church of 
England faction by uniting the interest of the ' Peep-of-Day Boys' 
with that of the Church of England gentry, from which curious 
union sprung, in 1796, the Orange Society, sworn to maintain the 
Protestant ascendency of 1688. But the Orangemen were as 



lawless as the Defenders. Lord Gosford. who had been appointed 
joint lord-lieutenant of the county of Armagh with the Earl of 
Cbarlemont, in 1791, to counterpoise the Whiggism of the latter, 
found it necessary in December 1795, to convene a meeting of 
the magistrates of that county, and call on them to put a stop 
to tin- barbarous practices of the Orange Society. It sufficed for 
a man to profess the Roman Catholic religion to have his dwelling 
burnt over his bead, and himself, with his family, banished out of 
the county. Nearly half the inhabitants of the county of Armagh 
luul been thus expatriated. To check these outbreaks of Defenders 
ami Orangemen, Parliament, early in 1796, passed an Insurrection 
Act. Persons administering unlawful oaths were to suffer death, 
and those who took them transportation. But in the terrible 
times which ensued, this evil was allowed to work only one way. 
The Orangemen, ami otb.T Protestant insurrectionists, were 
allowed to bear arms, and to use them as they pleased. The 
penalties all fell upon the unhappy Catholics, and on such Pro- 
tectants as had joined the United Irishmen, a numerous and 
powerful body." 

The high sheriff of Gal way, Charles Blake, addressed 
Grattan on the alarming state of affairs, in the name and 
by the desire of the gentlemen and freeholders of the 
county. They declared it "highly honourable" to him, 
though not to the age, that his dismissal from office was 
considered " a necessary and previous stage to the return 
of some that are not reported to love the people." The 
letter was short, manly, intelligent, and worthy of the men 
of Gal way. 

The students of Dublin University addressed him. and, 
with a liberality quite beyond the age, declared m rt< *t 
truly " that the harmony and strength of Ireland will be 



founded on the solid basis of Catholic Emancipation, and 
the reform of those grievances which have inflamed public 
indignation." 8 

Even at that moment, if the least effort had been made in 
the direction of justice to Catholics, and if even a trifling 
instalment of the justice which has since been done to them 
had been attempted, the rebellion of 1798 might never have 
been, and a legacy of hatred to England might have been 

The Catholic clergy were wholly on the side of order; 
but what could they do with a starving people ? England 
had destroyed Irish trade; they could not excuse this; they 
could not say it is your own fault, that you are starving, 
bear it as a calamity which you have brought on yourselves. 
England still persecuted their religion, and what was 
worse, permitted, if she did not actually encourage, Irish 
Protestants to massacre their fellow-subjects because they 
were Irish Catholics. Could this be defended ? Yet they 
did what they could ; they practised patience, they practised 
submission, they preached practical Christianity ; and if 
their lessons had no effect, it was not because Irish Catho- 
lics were less faithful to the teaching of their holy faith 
than they had been in former ages, but because they believed 
that their cause was a just one. 9 

8 Life of Grattan, by his Son, vol. iv. pp. 222, 223. 

9 On the 10th March 1798, Dr Lanigan, the Catholic Bishop of 

Ossoiyi wrote thus to Dr Troy, the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin 


Negotiations were opened with the French Government 
by the United Irishmen in 1796. Lord Edward Fitzgerald, 
Arthur O'Connor, a gentleman of property in the county 
of Cork, and Theobald "Wolfe Tone, a barrister, were the 
persons selected for this undertaking. 

O'ConnelFs son, in writing his father's Memoir, was 
naturally anxious to screen his father from the discredit 

'■ B.yi.lyragget, March 10, 1798. 

" Most Rev. Sir, — I was absent from Kilkenny these eight days, and 
•■•a great part of that time occupied with the priests that border on the 
Queen's County, in consulting them, and concerting measures with them 
in Older to prev< nt, if possible, the introduction of United Irishmen and 
(their principles into this county. The letter you honoured me with 
was Bent alter me, and I received it there. 1 could make this short but 
true answer to it, that the charges mentioned there against the priests 
and me are false, malicious, and groundless. It is necessary, perhaps, 
to prove this more at large. I beg your patience, then, while I state 
the facts as they happened. 

"A sermon was preached in St James's chapel, about a month ago, on 
faith, it3 necessity, its utility, and tiie conditions required for true 
faith. The preacher had in view oniy to confute the lax principles of 
the richer Roman Catholics, who, under pretext of liberality of senti- 
ment, wished to establish an indifference about all religion and all reli- 
gious modes of worship.'' — Memoirs of Viscount Castlcreagh, vol. i. p. I CI. 

The upper classes of Catholics were sorely tempted to apostatise. 
The cause of this temptation has been already fully explained. The 
consequence was that they kept very much aloof from their formei 
( 'atholic brethren. Mr Grattan says, in his " Life of his Father," vol. iv. 
j). 5'): ''In late as well as in early times the Irish aristocracy have 
attached themselves too much to party in England, and have forgotten 
the real interests of their own nation. The wise policy would have been 
to have attended exclusively to their own country — a course more politic, 
though less profitable.* The treatment which the upper classes hail 
received duri'og the Irish revolution tended to strengthen this feeliuj 
•till greater. 


of being a United Irishman. That he was there is not 
the slightest doubt, for he has left the fact on record himself. 
His naturally enthusiastic temperament led him to throw 
himself eagerly into any scheme likely to benefit his 
country. He joined the artillery corps on his arrival in 
Dublin ; and the division to which he belonged, known as 
the " Lawyers' Artillery," was said to have been the best 
got up, and the best equipped in Dublin. 1 

He also joined a debating society which met in Eustace 
Street, where the stirring events of the times were freely 
canvassed. Here, he says : — 

" I had many good opportunities of acquiring valuable informa- 
tion, upon which I very soon formed my own judgment. It was 
a terrible time. The political leaders of the period could not con- 
ceive such a thing as a perfectly open and above-board political 
machinery. My friend, Richard Newton Bennett, was an adjunct 
to the Directory of United Irishmen. I was myself a United 
Irishman. As I saw how matters worked, I soon learned to have 
no secrets in politics." 2 

O'Connell lodged in Trinity Place. A gentleman who 

1 The uniform of the lawyers' corps was scarlet and blue, their motto, 
Pro aris et focis ; the attorneys' regiment of Volunteers was scarlet and 
Pomona green ; a corps called the Irish Brigade, and composed princi- 
pally of Catholics (after the increasing liberality of the day had per- 
mitted them to become Volunteers) wore scarlet and white ; other legi- 
ments of Irish brigades wore scarlet faced with green, and their mott 
was Vox populi supremo, lex est ; the goldsmiths' corps, commanded by 
the Duke of Leinster, wore blue, faced with scarlet and a prr fessional 
prof usi an of gold lace. 

8 Personal Recollections, by O'Neill Daunt. 



knew Dublin well at that period describes it as " an almost- 
unexplored nook." He was very intimate with Mr Murray, 
a respectable grocer, who resided at No. 3 South Great 
George Street, and who, like most Irishmen of the period, 
was in heart a rebel. That O'Connell was then in favour 
of physical force there can be no doubt, however he may 
have wished in later years to throw a veil of oblivion over 
his boyish ardour. A rising was expected literally every 
night, and Major Sirr was patrolling Dublin eager to exer- 
cise his bloody mission on the suspected. 

On one memorable evening O'Connell, excited partly by 
drink and partly by patriotism, and always ready to be first 
in the fray, was eager to join a meeting of United Irishmen 
that very night, and to swear in new members, but his 
host, more prudent, though by no means less patriotic,* 
induced the enthusiastic youth to accompany him to 

8 Mr Murray's son, who must have been thoroughly well-informed on 
the subject, lias left the following account of the affair on record, which 
I quote from the " Sham Squire," with the author's permission : — " We 
are indebted to the late Mr Peter Murray, of the Registry of Deeds 
Office. Dublin, a man of scrupulous veracity, for the following curious 
reminiscence of O'Connell in 1798 : — 1 My father, a respectable cheese- 
monger and grocer, residing at 3 South Great George Street, was ex- 
ceedingly intimate with O'Connell, when a law student, and during his 
earlier career at the bar. Mr O'Connell, at the period of which I speak, 
lodged in Trinity Place adjacent, an almost unexplored nook, and to 
many of our citizens a terra incognita. I well remember O'Connell, 
one night at my father's house during the spring of 1798, so carried 
away by the political excitement of the day, and by the ardour of his 
innate patriotism, calling for a prayer-book to swear in some zualoua 




the canal bridge at Leeson Street, where he saw him safely 
mi hoard a turf boat, and out of harm's way. It was well 
thai this had been accomplished, for Mr Murray's house 
w as searched that night by Major Sirr. 

In one ofO'Connell's communications to Mr O'Neill Daunt, 
he mentions leaving Dublin in June 1798 in a boat, and 
having paid the pilot half a guinea to put him on shore at 
Cork. Indeed, it was impossible at that time to travel in 
any other way. Bands of armed men were marching in 
every direction through the country, and as neither party 
was very particular as to identity, the most peaceful tra- 
veller was not free from danger. It would, appear probable 

young men as United Irishmen at a meeting of the body in a neigh 

bouring street. Counsellor — was there, and offered to accompany 

O'Connell on his perilous mission. My father, although an Irishman 
of advanced liberal views and strong patriotism, was not a United Irish- 
man, and endeavoured, but without effect, to deter his young and gifted 
friend from the rash course in which he seemed embarked. Dublin 
was in an extremely disturbed state, and the outburst of a bloody in- 
surrection seemed hourly imminent. My father resolved to exert to the 
uttermost the influence which it was well known he possessed over hia 
young friend. He made him accompany him to the canal bridge at 
Leeson Street, and after an earnest conversation, succeeded in persuad- 
ing the future Liberator to step into a turf boat which was then 
leaving Dublin. That night my father's house was searched hy 
Major Sirr, accompanied by the attorneys' corps of yeomanry, who 
pillaged it to their hearts' content. There can be no doubt that private 
information of O'Connell's tendencies and haunts had been communi- 
cated to the government.' "—The Sham Squire; or, The Rebellion in In* 
land, page 305. Dublin : Kelly. 

Mr John O'Connell gives an account of the affair which was evi- 
dently " revised." He says :— " On one occasion, however (perhaps th« 



that O'Connell remained in the peaceful wilds of Kerry 
during the most eventful period of the Rebellion. It was 
at that time that he contracted the fever previously men- 
tioned. But even then news travelled to that remote 
locality, and the terrible Revolution of '08 was read, not as 
we read it now. as a tale of horrors long past, but as a 
terrible tragedy then being enacted hour by hour, and of 
which the end waa not known yet. 

only one of his life), at the table of Mr Murray, already mentioned, about 
the month of March of the year 179S, he was betrayed, by the heat of a 
political discussion, into some forget fulness of his constant habit of tem- 
perance ; and took what to him was inconvenient, although to the well- 
SOaked brains of most of his compeers it would have been of no conse- 
quence. Returning that night full of self reproach and annoyance at 
the unaccustomed sensations he had subjected himself to, his interposi- 
tion to save a wretched female from the blows of some cowardly ruffians, 
in the garb of gentlemen, drew upon him the attack of the whole party ; 
but for a while (owing to his great strength and activity) with signal dis- 
comfiture to themselves, three being knocked down by him in succes- 
sion. However, one of the latter, on getting up, came behind and 
pinioned him, and so he was overpowered — receiving, while in this de- 
fenceless position, and ere he could free himself, several blows on the 
face, by which it was so disfigured as to render a few days' confinement 
to the house advisable. While under this irksome restraint, his land- 
lord, a most respectable tradesman (well known long afterwards to the 
theatre-going folk as Regan the fruiterer), then purveyor to the Castle 
of Dublin, took the liberty of his years, and permitted but respectful 
familiarity, to warn his young lodger from committing himself politically 
■ — detailing the dark hints rife in the purlieus of the Castle, of the deep 
and fearful game the government were playing in allowing the insur- 
rection to mature, while they kept themselves ready, and had it in their 
power to lay hands upon its leaders at any moment. " — Memoir* / 
(SConnell, by his Son, vol. i. p. 15. 



rattan withdrew from politics, hopeless of inducing the 
Government to do justice, or the people to bear injustice. 
The United Irishmen only numbered two men of rank 
amongst their leaders, Lord Edward Fitzgerald and Arthur 
O'Connor. Lord Edward belonged to the noble hoiuc of 
Leinster, and had learned to desire liberty, not for a class, 
but for all, first in America, 4 where he had served under 
Lord Cornwallis, and then in France, where he had attended 

4 Lord Edward Fitzgerald's letters to his mother from America show 
the singular tenderness of his nature, and his delicate though tf umess 
for others, and especially for his good mother. He wrote, " She has a 
rope about my neck that gives hard tugs at it, and it is all I can do not 
to give way." How terrible was the last " giving way " of that fond 
heart, can only be realised by natures as sensitive as his. Writing about 
some business, he says — " I believe there is vn Men clique of fellowa 
in that country. Pray do not let any of them into Eilrush, for they 
will only distress and domineer over the poor tenants." — Memoirs of 
Lord Edward Fitzgerald, vol. i. p. 124. Lord Edward was treated most 
cruelly after his capture, notwithstanding his high rank. It is said that 
Lord Clare urged him to escape, and said every port in the country would 
be left open to him, but his nature was far too chivalrous to seek his own 
safety while others were in danger. 

The late Lord Holland furnishes, in his " Memoirs," many interesting 
illustrations of Lord Edward's sweet and gentle disposition :— " With 
the most unaffected simplicity and good nature he would palliate, from 
the force of circumstances or the accident of situation, the perpetrators 
of the very enormities which had raised his high spirit and compassionate 
nature to conspire and resist. It was this kindness of heart that led 
him, on his deathbed, to acquit the officer who inflicted his wounds of 
all malice, and even to commend him for an honest discharge of hia 
duty. It was this sweetness of disposition that enabled him to dismiss 
with good humour one of his bitterest persecutors, who had visited him 
in his mangled condition, if not to insult his misfortunes, with the idle 
hope of extoi ting l is secret. < I would shafce hands willingly with you,' 


a political dinner, at which lie accepted the title of u citi- 
zen." O'Connor was nephew and heir to Lord Longueville, 
by whom he was brought into Parliament in 1790. 

Fifteen leaders of the United Irishmen were seized in 
Belfast on the 14th of April 1797. They were all Protes- 
tants, and of the number there were seven Presbyterian 
ministers, and three Covenanters. Their papers were exa- 
mined, and alforded an excuse for fresh cruelties. In the 
very face of the fact, that these men, who were the real 
originators of the revolt, were Protestants, the fiercest 
punishments were inflicted on the Catholics. When Lord 
Cornwall is arrived in Ireland, he found his dilHeulty was 
not so much to repress the rebellion as to quiet those who 
were exciting and increasing it by their blood-thirsty rage. 
Every one who had a grudge against a neighbour denounced 
him as a rebel. Every one who wanted to gain favour 
with government sent in a list of suspected persons. This 
was often done secretly; no name was given, and yet 
government, or those who were acting in the name of 
government, proceeded at once to hang, shoot, or torture 
the unhappy victims.* 

Baid he, 1 but mine are cut to pieces. However, I '11 shake a toe, and 
wish you good-bye.' " 

His family felt his treatment bitterly. His brother, Lord Heniy 
Fitzgerald, wrote to Lord Camden reproaching him with his cruelty ; 
but it was useless, cruelty was the order of the day. — See Memoirs oj 
(Jruttun, vol. iv p. 387. 

6 Mr Duudas forwarded one of these lists from a man " who would 



The excesses committed by the army were so horrible that 
we cannot defile these pages with them. On the 31st of 

not come forward/' to Sir Ralph Abercrombie. The list is a curiosity 
ami shows how such matters were arranged. 

Return of Suspected Persons. 


Stephen Garry 

Waller Mooney 
Michael Lee . 
James Kelly . 

Patrick Burne. 

Hugh Toole . 
Patrick Con! an 
John Conlan . 
Dominick Conlan 
Maurice Conlan 
Matthew Conlan 
— Conlan, his son 
Thomas Gannon 
Michael Barnes 
Edward Burne 
Christopher Flood 
— Deering . . « 

Edmund Bell 


Kildare. . 
Do. . . . 

Ballysax . 

Do. . . . 




Ballyfair . , 
Do. ... • 
Land croft. 
Cut Bush. 


Characters of the Men. 

Treasurer to the County meetil g, 
( Representative to Surgeon Cum- 
( mings. 

Deeply engaged, and a Captain. 

A Committee-man, and knows 

A Captain, much with Lord Ed. 

Treasurer Kildare Meeting. 
A supposed assassin. 

Deep in the secret. 
Used to be much with Lord 
Edward Fitzgerald. 

His son a Captain, and now in 

. \ H on d the H Cur! \ Has . a meetin " ever ^ Smid '^ * 
) -l ( his home at 10 o'clock. 


Thomas Kelly . j P( ^^^ l af j A Captain, and swears in many. 

Patrick Doyle 
- Flood . . , 


A Captain, and deeply con- 

-Daly, son to Ed- ) - (A Captain of the half-barony of 

ward Daly . . . Do < " J 

Lawrance Byrne . . Ballysax 

\ Kilcullen. 
{ A blacksmith, and supposed tc 
' ( have made must of the pikes. 



August 1798. Lord Cornwallis issued general orders in the 
vain hope of improving their conduct; he might as well 
have tiied to control the west win J. 

" Bali.ixamoue, August o\st, 1798. 
"It is with very great concern that Lord Cornwall is finds him- 
self obliged to call on the General Officers and the Commanding 
Officers of regiments in particular, and in general on the officers 
oi the army, to assist him in putting a stop to the licentious 
conduct of the troops, and in saving the wretched inhabitants 

It will be seen that whole families were marked out for slaughter 
— that in many cases no reason whatever is given for the accusation, 
anil that in many more the unhappy men were only "supposed" to 
be guilty. Mr Dundas concludes this letter by saying: — "Everything 
goes on quietly, hut we have been obliged to destroy a large quantity 
of whisky, without which the troops would have got drunk, and done 
much mischief." The yeomen and military were drunk half their time, 
and those wretches were the men to whom lull liberty was granted to 
kill and torture any one on mere suspicion, or even without that excuse. 

Sir Ralph Abercrombie wa< too gallant an officer to encourage, or if 
he could help it, to practise such atrocities, but no one had control over 
the army, whi h he declared " was formidable to every one but the 
enemy." Lord Castlereagh wrote to General Lake, who succeeded Sir 
Ralph on the same subject. 

" Dcblin Castle, April 25*/?, 1798. 
"Sir, — It having been represented to his Excellency the Lord-Lieu- 
tenant, that much evil may arise to the disci; »line of the trooos from 
their being permitted fcr any length of time to live at free quarter*, 
tn^t the loyal and well-affected have in many instances suffered in 
common with the disaffected, from a measure which does not admit in 
its execution of sufficient discrimination of persons, I am directed by 
his Excellency to request that you will advert to these inconveniences, 
and adopt such otlur vigorous and effectual measures for enforcing the 
speedy surrender of arms as in your discretion you shall think fit, and 
which shall appear to you not liable to these objections." — Memoirs or 
Viscount Castlereagh, vol. i. p. 187. 



from being robbed, and in the most shocking manner ill-treated, 
by those to whom they had a right to look for safety and pro- 

"Lord Cornwallis declares, that if he finds that the soldiers of 
any regiment have had opportunities of committing these excesses 
from the negligence of their officers, he will make those officers 
answerable for their conduct ; and that if any soldiers are caught 
either in the act of robbery, or with the articles of plunder in 
their possession, they shall be instantly tried, and immediate 
execution shall follow their conviction. 

"A Provost-Marshal will be appointed, who will, with his 
guard, march in the rear of the army, and who will patrol about 
the villages and houses in the neighbourhood of the camp." 

Lord Cornwallis has been accused of partiality to Ire- 
land because he would not countenance cruelty, though he 
could not prevent it. We therefore give other testimony- 
Captain Taylor wrote from Ballinamore on the 31st of 
August 1798 :— 

"We halt here this day to give the Queen's and 29th time to 
join us : they have made a most expeditious march from Wex- 
ford, and will be at Ballinasloe this day. We shall proceed 
towards Tuam to-morrow, and they will march in the same direc- 
tion. As far as we can learn as yet, the French are still at 
Castlebar, entrenching themselves, and drilling those of the in- 
habitants who have joined. Among the latter I fear there are 
some of the Longford and Kilkenny : those regiments marched to 
this place yesterday, and upon our arrival were immediately 
ordered on towards Athlone. Their conduct, and that of the 
Carabineers and Frazers, in action on the retreat from Castlebar 
and Tuam, and the depredations they committed on the road, 
exceed, I am told, ail description. Indeed, they have, I believe, 
raised a spirit of liscontent and disaffection which did no* before 



exist in this part of the country. Every endeavour lias been used 
to prevent plunder in our corps, but it really is impossible to stop 
it in some of the regiments of militia with us, particularly the 
light battalions." 

With 'be intelligence of a master mind, and the clear- 
ness of an unprejudiced mind, Lord Cornwallis studied and 
fathomed the " Irish difficulty." It would have been well 
for both countries if counsels like his had prevailed. He saw 
that the system hitherto pursued was bad; 6 certainly it had 
been thoroughly tested, and as certainly it had entirely failed. 

• The following letter deserves consideration even at the present 
day :— 

" Marquis Conucallis to the Duke of Portland. 
[Secret and Confidential.] 

" Dublin Castle, Sept. 16, 1708. 

"My dear Lord, — If I have not appeared to give my sentiments to 
four Grace with the utmost freedom, and to speak with the most perfect 
openness of heart on the subject both of men and measures in this 
country, I most earnestly request that you will believe that such ap- 
parent reserve has not proceeded from a want of the most affectionate 
regard personally to yourself, or the most entire confidence in your up- 
rightness and honour, but in truth from my not being able to give you 
opinions which I had not formed, or to explain things which I was not 
sure that I understood. 

u The <piiek succession of important events during the shurt period of 
my Lieutenancy has frequently diverted my attention from the pursuit 
of that great question — How this country can be governed and pre- 
served, and rendered a source of strength and power, instead of remain- 
ing a uscles- and almost intolerable burtheu to Great Britain. 

" Your Giace will not be so sanguine as to expect that I am now going 
to tell you that I have succeeded in making this discovery. Sorry am 
I to say, that I have made no further progress than to satisfy niyseli 
that, a perseverance in the system which has hitherto been pursued, can 


Protestant ascendancy had been allowed full swing, yet 
Ireland was not prosperous. Trade had been suppressed 
vigorously, yet England was not benefited. A few indi- 
viduals certainly gained by the public loss, and these in- 
dividuals contrived to impress the English nation with a 

only lead us from bad to worse, and after exhausting the resources of 
Britain, must end in the total separation of the two countries. 

" The principal personages here who have long been in the habit of 
directing the counsels of the Lords-Lieutenants are perfectly well-in- 
tentioned, and entirely attached and devoted to the British connection ; 
but they are blinded by their passions and prejudices, talk of nothing 
but strong measures, and arrogate to themselves the exclusive know- 
ledge of a country, of which, from their mode of governing it, they have, 
in my opinion, proved themselves totally ignorant. 

" To these men I have shown all civility and kindness in my power, 
and have done for them all ordinary favours which they have asked, but 
I am afraid that they are are not satisfied with me, because I have not 
thrown myself blindly into their hands. With the Chancellor, who can 
with patience listen to the words Papist and Moderation, I have in- 
variably talked on all public points which have occurred, and I have 
Blown no marks of confidence to any other set of men, and have par- 
ticularly given no countenance whatever to those who opposed the 
former government. I have at all times received the greatest assist- 
ance from Lord Castlereagh, whose prudence, talents, and temper, I can- 
not sufficiently commend. 

: ' No man will, I believe, be so sanguine as to think that any mea- 
Mires which government can adopt would have an immediate effect on 
the minds of the people, and I am by no means prepared to say what 
those should be, which slowly and progressively tend to that most de- 
sirable object. 

" I have hitherto been chiefly occupied in checking the growing evil, 
but so perverse and ungovernable are the tempers here, that I cannot 
Hatter myself that I have been very successful. 

" With regard to future plans, I can only say that some mode must be 
adopted to soften the hatred of the Catholics to our government." 



terrible fear of losing Ireland, if they were not permitted 
to carry out their selfish policy. Unfortunately, the great 
mass of Englishmen were utterly ignorant of the true 
state of Ireland, and had a traditional belief, not easily 
shaken, that the worst which could be said of her was pro- 
bably far short of the truth. 

There were men, even of rank and station, whom nothing 
could satisfy except a universal massacre of the Irish, who 
prayed for a second Cromwell ; men who were too com- 
pletely blinded by prejudice to be capable of reasoning 
either on the past or the present, — men who could not see, 
or who would not see, that Cromwell's policy was being 
enacted, not in one part of Ireland alone, but from the 
east to the west, wherever Englisii soldiers could be sent. 
And what had Cromwell's policy done — we will not say for 
Ireland, because Ireland was not for a moment considered 
by such persons, — but what had his policy effected in Ire- 
land for English interests? Had it decreased the popula- 
tion of Ireland? Fur a time, certainly; while the land ran 
rivers of blood, and women and children lay writhing in 
death-throes of agony beneath the sword of men who took 
on them to commit the deadliest crimes in the name of 
the God of mercy. 

Was Ireland more contented, more easily satisfied with 
injustice? Had the great end been gained of making her 
submit in silence to her oppressor ? By no means. All 
history refutes the supposition. What, then, did Ciom- 



we IPs policy do for English interests in Ireland ? It 
simply made them a thousand times more precarious than 
ever,— it simply left a legacy of undying hatred to those 
who assisted him in doing his evil will. " The curse of 
Cromwell on you," is to the present day the bitterest 
imprecation that one Irish peasant can use to another, 
it nd the curse of that man's evil deeds will never 
cease to lie dark and heavy between the English and Irish 
si i ( d*es. A century of honest, manly, justice to Ireland 
might, indeed, help to repair it, — might blot out the darker 
shades of its iniquity, but it would need some such remedy. 
If Irish rebels burned and pillaged English yeomen, they 
had learned the lesson from Cromwell. He massacred the 
defenceless from the pure love of blood and cruelty ; they 
did but strive to defend the defenceless in such fashion as 
they could. 7 

7 We happen to know that the Cromwell theory has not died out yet. 
It has, at least, the merit of simplicity, but it would be a little difficult ol 
execution in this nineteenth century, when there would be some millions 
of Irish in America, 

"To know the reason why." 

On the 27th July 1798, Lord Clifdon wrote from Dublin to the 

Speaker of the English House of Commons : — 

" There certainly is a great want of discipline, and the strongest spirit 
of plunder, in the troops. The north is quiet, and will, from all I hear, 
remain so. They don't like to have their throats cut by the southern 
Catholics. Some good priests there are, and many loyal Catholics, but 
the mass of them are rebels, and the priests who are infected with this 
villany excite them to massacre the Protestants as a means, together 
with the hope of plunder, to drive them on in the rebellion. It is a 



H">w defenceless the unhappy Irish peasantry were at 
this period, is evident from a letter of the Marquis of 
Cornwallis to the Duke of Portland, dated Dublin Castle, 
June 4 JS, 1798, in which he says: — 

"The accounts that you see of the numbers of the enemy de 
itroyed in every action, are, I conclude, greatly exaggerated ; from 
my own knowledge of military affairs, I am sure that a very 
small proportion of them only could be killed in battle; and I am 
much afraid that any man in a brown coat, who is found within 
several miles of the field of action, is butchered without discrimi- 

u It shall be one of my first objects to soften the ferocity of 
our troops, which I am afraid, in the Irish corps at least, is not 
confined to the private soldiers. 

"I shall use my utmost exertions to suppress the folly which 
has been too prevalent in this quarter, of substituting the word 
Catholicism instead of Jacobinism, as the foundation of the present 

On the 1st of July he wrote — 

u The violence of our friends, and their folly in endeavouring 

miserable thing to say, but, from all I have seen and know, I am per- 
fectly convinced that while everything round them has improved, the 
minds and feelings of the lower class of the Catholics of Ireland are 
exactly what they were in 1641. This is possible, and what I could 
not have believed four months ago, nor at all, had I not seen the proof 
with my own eyes. They are, however, to be brought to reason, as 
Cromwell brought them then, and by no other means, as the event 
will prove. In my opinion, a union would be the salvation of both 
islands." — Diary of Lord Colchester, vol. i. p. 160. 

It is difficult to understand how the Irish peasantry could have im- 
proved, when they were neither allowed education nor commerce. 



to make it a religious war, added to the ferocity of our troopa 
who delight in murder, most powerfully counteract all plans of 


• ••••• • 

" The Irish militia are totally without discipline, contemptible 
before the enemy when any serious resistance is made to them, 
bul ferocious and cruel in the extreme when any poor wretches, 
either with or without arms, come within their power; in short, 
murder appears to be their favourite pastime. 

' ; The principal persons of this country, and the members of 
both Houses of Parliament, are, in general, averse to all acts of 
clemenc}^, and although they do not express, and perhaps are too 
much heated to see the ultimate effects which their violence must 
produce, would pursue measures that wuld only terminate in the 
extirpation of the greater number of the inhabitants, and in the 
utter destruction of the country. The words Papists and Priests 
are for ever in their mouths, and by their unaccountable policy 
they would drive four-fifths of the community into irreconcilable 
rebellion ; and in their warmth they lose sight of the real cause 
of the present mischief, of that deep-laid conspiracy to revolu- 
tionise Ireland on the principles of France, which was originally 
formed, and by wonderful assiduity brought nearly to maturity, 
by men who had no thought of religion but to destroy it, and who 
knew how to turn the passions and prejudices of the different 
sects to the advancement of their horrible plot for the introduc- 
tion of that most dreadful of all evils, a Jacobin revolution." 

We have given sufficient English authority to show tbe 
state of Ireland at the period of 0' Council's entrance into 
public life. Many Irish authorities might have been quoted, 
but we are so fully aware of English misconception of the 
whole subject, and of the prejudice which exists against the 



accents even of Irish Protestants, who have given truthful 
narrative? of the times, that we do not introduce their 
authority here. But there is one authority little known, 
and seldom, as far as we are aware, quoted, to which few 
can object, as likely to he prejudiced unduly on either 
gide — it is that of the gentle and gifted Mary Leadbetter, 
a member of the Society of Friends. 

Mr Shackleton, Mrs Leadbetter's father, kept a famous 
school at Ballitore, in the county Kildare. The village 
lies on the high road to Cork, about twenty miles from 
Dublin. It was almost a Quaker settlement, hut many 
Irish gentlemen were glad to confide the education of their 
?ons to the conscientious and able schoolmaster. Mrs 
Leadhetter wrote, amongst other works, "The Annals of 
Ballitore," in which she gives a charming description of 
ber home. Edmund Burke was educated there, and kept 
lip a life-long correspondence with the Shackletons, 
honourable alike to master and pupil. His correspondence 
forms a considerable and most interesting portion of the 
volume. All was happy in that happy home till t^e dread 
hour when the " Irish rising " was put down with merciless 
cruelty. With a few extracts from Mrs Leadbetter's narra- 
tive, we conclude this painful subject. 

The Shackleton family were treated by both sides with 
consideration, though they had a " green 8 cloth" on their 

8 The writer knew a lady, since dead, who was unhappy enough t<; 
have seen a young man taken up, and hanged without any trial, oi 



table which they did not remove. We suspect the sympathies 

of (lie gentle Friends were rather with the people; but how 

could it be otherwise, when the people were always eager to 

serve them in any way? Their house was visited frequently 

both by the insurgents and the military. The following 

are some of the many scenes of horror which Mrs Lead* 

better records : — 

" Every one seemed to think that safety and security were to be 
found in my brother's house. Thither the insurgents brought 
their prisoners, and thither also their own wounded comrades. It 
was an awful sight to behold in that large parlour such a mingled 
assembly of throbbing, anxious hearts ; my brother's own family, 
silent tears rolling down their faces, the wives of the loyal officers, 
the wives of the soldiers, the wives and daughters of the insurgents, 
the numerous guests, the prisoners, the trembling women — all 
dreading to see the door open, lest some new distress, some fresh 
announcement of horrors, should enter. It was awful ; but every 
scene was now awful, and we knew not what a day might bring 

• •«•••• • 

" Young girls dressed in white, with green ribbons, and carrying 
pikes, accompanied the insurgents. They had patrols and a 
countersign, but it was long before they could decide upon the 

even attempt at a trial, simply because he wore a necktie which was 
partly green. One of the favourite ballads of the period, and which 
indeed is still sung by the peasants, alludes to this as a common 
practice. " The Wearing of the Green" is perhaps one of the most 
soul-stirring of all the Irish rebel-songs— 

" Oh ! such a wretched country 
As this was never seen, 
For they're hanging men and women, 
For the wearing of the green." 



■ At length they fixed upon the word t: scourges." Sentinels 
were placed in various parts of the village. One day as I went 
to my brothers, a sentinel called to a man who walked with me 
not to advance on pain of being shot. The sentinel was my 
former friend '*the Canny." I approached him, and asked, would 
he would shoot me if I proceeded ? " Shoot you ! " exclaimed 
he, taking my hand and kissing it, adding a eulogium on the 

' I told him it would be well if they were all of our way of 
thinking, for then there would be no such work as the present. 
1 thought I could comprehend 11 the Cannv's n incoherent answer 
"Ay ! but you know our Saviour — the scourges, oh! the 
scourges ! " 

• ••••••• 

Then raising himself in his stirrups, he revoked the orders given to 
his men to fire upon every man in coloured clothes. Oh, rash and 
cruel orders, which exposed to such danger lives of such value, 
which if thus sacrificed no regrets could have restored ! Nothing 
can justify such commands. 

• • •••••• 

" Soldiers carne in for milk ; some of their countenances were 
pale with anger, and they grinned at me, calling me names which I 
had never heard before. They said I had poisoned the milk which 
I gave them, and desired me to drink some, which I did with much 
indignation. Others were civil, and one inquired if we had had 
any United Irishmen in the house. I told them we had. In that 
fearful tune the least equivocation, the least deception, appeared 
to me to be fraught with danger. The soldier continued his 
inquiry — ' Had they plundered us V 4 No, except of eating and 
drinking.' ' Oh, free quarters,' he replied, smiled and went away. 
A fine looking man, a soldier, came in in an extravagant passion ; 
neither his rage nor my terror could prevent me from observing 
that this man was strikingly handsome ; he asked me the same 
questions in the same terms, and I made the same answer. He 



cursed me with great bitterness, and raising his musket, presented 
it to my breast. I desired him not to shoot me. It seemed as 
if lie had the will but not the power to do so. He turned from 
me, dashed pans and jugs off the kitchen table with his musket, 
and shattered the kitchen window. Terrified almost out of my 
wits, I pan out of the house, followed by several women almost as 
much frightened as myself. When I fled my fears gained strength, 
and I believed my enemy was pursuing ; I thought of throwing 
myself into the river at the foot of the garden, thinking the 
bullet could not hurt me in the water. One of our servants ran 
into the street to call for help. William Richardson and Charles 
Coote, who kindly sat on oheir horses outside our windows, came 
in and turned the ruffian out of the house. That danger passed, 
I beheld from the back window of our parlour the dark- red flames 
of Gavin's house, and others, rising above the green of the trees. 
At the same time, a fat tobacconist from Carlo w lolled upon one of 
our chairs, and talked boastingly of the exploits performed by the 
military whom he had accompanied ; how they had shot several, 
adding, ' We burned one fellow in a barrel.' I never in my iifn 
felt disgusted so strongly ; it even overpowered the horror due to 
the deed which had been actually committed." 

Chapter |i% 

1 798-1801. 

TTkgr circuit — AT the bar— jerry kei.ler — bar stories— promise of suo 




y^f^CONNELL went hia first circuit 
in 1 798. He had only just re- 
covered from the fever already 
mentioned, which was so nearly 
fatal, but his tigorons consti- 
tution enabled him t<> bear 
both then and in later life what might have 
proved beyond the strength of others less 
favoured in that way. We ffive here his own 
account of this illness : — 

"It was occasioned,'' said he, "by sleeping in wet 
clothes. I had dried them upon me at a peasant's 
fire, and drank three glasses of whisky, after which 
I fell asleep. The next day I hunted, was soon 
weary, and fell asleep in a ditcli under sunshine. 
I became much worse ; I spent a fortnight in great 



discomfort, wandering about and unable to eat. At last, when I 
(•(mid no longer battle it out, I gave up and went to bed. Old 
Doctor Moriarty was sent for ; lie pronounced me in a high fever, 
was in such pain that I wished to die. In my ravings I fancied 
at 1 was in the middle of a wood, and that the branches Were 
n fire around me. I felt my backbone stiffening for death, and 
I positively declare that I think what saved me was the effort I 
made to rise up, and show my father, who was at my bedside, 
that 1 knew him. I verily believe that effort of nature aveited 
death. During my illness I used to quote from the tragedy of 
Douglas these lines — 

'Unknown I die ; no tongue shall speak of me ; 
Some noble spirits, judging by themselves, 
May yet conjecture what I might have proved ; 
And think life only wanting to my fame.' 

I used to quote those lines under the full belief that my illness 
would end fatally. Indeed, long before that period — when I was 
Beven years old — yes, indeed, as long as ver I can recollect. I 
always felt a presentiment that I should write my name on the 
page of history. I hated Saxon domination. I detested the 
tyrants of Ireland. During the latter part of my illness, Doctor 
Moriarty told me that Buonaparte had got his whole army to 
Alexandria, across the desert. ' That is impossible,' said I, ' he 
cannot have done so ; they would have starved. 1 ' Oh, no,' re- 
plied the doctor, 'they had a quantity of portable soup with, 
them, sufficient to feed the whole army for four days.' ' Ay,' 
joined I, 'but had they portable water? For their portable 
jp Avould have been of little use if they had not water to dis- 
solve it in.' My father looked at the attendants with an air of 
hope. Doctor Moriarty said to my mother, 'His intellect, at any 
rate, is untouched.' " 

This illness occurred in August 1798, and immediately 
after his recovery he went on circuit. Of this event ho 



has also left a record, or rather the record as given by him- 
self has been preserved by his faithful friend Mr Daunt. 

Travelling then in Kerry, 9 or indeed in any part of the 
world, was by no means the easy and rapid affair it is 
uuw. O'Connell left home at four o'clock in the morning 
on horseback, accompanied by his brother John, who was 
bound for the more congenial occupation of hunting. 
O'Connell was passionately fond of sport, and tenderly 
attached to his whole family, so that the parting had a 
double pang. We give the remainder of the narrative in 
0' Council's own words : — 

"I looked after him. from time to time, until he was out of 
tight, and then I cheered up my spirits as well as 1 could; I had 
left home at such an early hour, that I was in Tralee at half-past 

• Until the year 1825, when the Limerick mail-coach was established, 
put-chaises, sometimes of the rudest construction, were the only meana 
of conveyance. Two well-known Tralee characters, Davy Dog and Ja"\k 
Hackney, kept these coaches, and with rope shrouds rigged under tne 
bodies of them to assiU or preserve the springs. They took six or seven 
hours going from Tralee to Listowel — a distance of eighteen miles — 
stopped there that night, the next day journeying as far as Newbridge, 
where another night was spent, and the third day they reached Lime- 
rick. The journey between Tralee and Limerick is performed at present 
by rail in about live hours. 

The first four-horse mail was driven into Kerry from Cork on the 
11th of August 1810, by old Mich Daly, a famous Jehu, whose chirrup 
was the delight of his horses, and who made the noble and creditable 
boast that " a ha'porth of whipcord " would last a twelvemonth. He 
had a theory, rather old-fashioned, we must fear, that " beating horses 
was not driving them." He proved his theory by practice, and we 
Bincerely wish we had a few more imitators. Butgcod driving requires 
some intellectual effort ; and brute force, which the prosecutions of the 


twelve. I got my horse fed, and, thinking it was as well to push 
on 1 remounted him, and took the road to Tarbert by Listowell. 
A few miles further on, a shower of rain drove me under a bridge 
for shelter. While 1 stayed there, the rain sent Robert Hickson 
also under the bridge. He saluted me, and asked me where I 
was going? I answered, 'To Tarbert.'— ' Why so late?' said 
Hickson. * I am not late,' said I. ' I have been up since four 
o'clock this morning.' — 'Why, where do you come from?' — 'From 
Carhen.' Hickson looked astonished, for the distance was near 
fifty Irish miles. But he expressed his warm approval of my 
activity. ' Youll do, young gentleman,' said he ; ' I see you'll do.* 
I then rode on, and got to Tarbert about five in the afternoon — 
full sixty miles Irish from Carhen. There wasn't one book to be 
had at the inn. I had no acquaintance in the town ; and I 
felt my spirits low enough at the prospect of a long, stupid even- 
ing. But I was relieved by the sudden appearance of Ralph 

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shows to be very 
much in vogue at the other side of the Channel, is within the reach of 
every man, however degraded, who has a strong arm. 

The judges in the eighteenth century at least, travelled direct from 
Limerick to Tralee, and were particular about the state of the roads, 
for they fined the county Kerry one hundred pounds for not keeping the 
" great circuit road " in proper repair. 

The first hotel of any importance in Tralee was set up by Dick 
Thornton, and was styled the Denny Arms. Dick, as usual in such 
cases, was a retired servant. He had been coachman to Sir Barry" 
Denny, but having become incapacitated for that position by a fall from 
his seat of authority, the coach-box — he was set up as hotel-keeper, and 
provided with a wooden leg. 

The Blennerhassets, too, had their hotel, conducted by Sam Benner, 
who was also a post-master, and is said to have advanced the art of 
locomotion by his strenuous efforts to keep up and improve his busi- 
ness. Paddy Devine represented the Crosbie interest. His hotel, as 
in duty bound, was called the Crosbie Arms. He is reported to have 
been an extensive farmer, and, moreover, kept race-korsea. 



Marshall, an i>ld friend of mine, who came to the, inn to dress for 
a ball that took place in Tarbert that night. He asked me to 
accompany him to the hall. ' Why,' said I, ' I have ridden sixty 
miles.' ' Oh, you don't seem in the least tired,' said he, ' so come 
along.' Accordingly I went, and sat up until two o'clock in the 
morning, dancing." 

A few hours' sleep was sufficient to refresh the hardy 
youth, and he rode off to the Limerick assizes to make 
his iirst public appearance as a barrister. How little he 
could have anticipated, as he rode quietly and unnoticed 
into the grand old city of the Violated Treaty, 1 and glanced 
at the stone which commemorates Irish bravery and 
English bad faith, how triumphantly he should one day 
be received there himself! 

He at once distinguished himself as a cross-examiner, 
which was undoubtedly his great forte at the bar. This 
department of the legal profession requires a tact and 
talent peculiar to itself, and which is often wanting in 
those who were gifted in other ways with the highest 
forensic ability. Woe to the unhappy man who gets into 
the witness box with a secret ; he might make a thousand 
resolutions to keep it to himself, — he might succeed with 
eome cross-examiners, but certainly not when OConnel] 
was counsel. 

He laughed, he cajoled, he rarely threatened, be began a 

1 The particulars of the Violated Treaty are too well-known to need 
more than a passing allusion. It is certainly one of the worst breaches 
of faith on record. 



cheerful conversation in most confidential terms. The half- 
pleased, half-bewildered witness " did not know where he 
was." This agreeable gentleman surely could have no 
ulterior designs in all this. Precisely when the unhappy 
man was thoroughly off his guard, out came the question. 
It was generally answered with a second's hesitation, and 
O'Connell sat down triumphant. 

He had a singular facility, a gift which cannot be ac- 
quired by any amount of practice, of seizing the salient 
points of a subject at one glance. He not only asked well, 
but he knew exactly what to ask. In ten minutes he 
would extract as much information from a witness, as a 
more practised but less gifted barrister would attain in half 
an hour. 

At the Tralee assizes he held a brief from Jerry Keller, 
a noted attorne} r . O'Connell had to examine a witness 
about whose sobriety there was some question. The wit- 
ness would not convict himself. He declared he had his 
" share of a pint of whisky." His sobriety depended on 
the amount of the " share." O'Connell asked him by 
virtue of his oath, was not his share all but the pewter ; and 
amid a roar of laughter the unhappy victim of forensic 
dexterity was obliged to admit that it was. O'Connell, in 
relating the story afterwards, said, " The oddity of my 
mode of putting the question was very successful, and 
created a general and hearty laugh. Jerry Keller repeated 
the encouragement Robert Hickson had already bestowed 


upon my activity, in the very same words, 'You'll do y 
)'o ung gentleman ! you'll do . r M 

Mr Hickson'8 history was a curious exemplification 01 
the state of the times. He turned Protestant to save his 
property, and was twice High Sheriff of Kerry. When the 
penal code was relaxed, he went back to his old faith to 
save his conscience, having, however, first made very sure 
that this proceeding would not injure his temporal pro- 

O'Connell used to tell some capital bar stories. 

"The cleverest rogue in the profession that ever I heard of," he 
said, on one occasion, " was one Checkley, familiarly known by 
the name of 1 Checkley-be-d — d.' Checkley was agent once at 
the Cork assizes for a fellow accused of burglary and aggravated 
assault committed at Ban try. The noted Jerry Keller was coun- 
sel for the prisoner, against whom the charge was made out by 
the clearest circumstantial evidence; so clearly, that it seemed 
quite impossible to doubt his guilt. When the case for the pro- 
secution closed, the judge asked if there were any witnesses for 
the* defence. 'Yes, my lord,' said Jerry Keller, 'I have three 
briefed to me.' 1 Call them/ said the judge. Checkley immedi- 
ately bustled out of court, and returned at once, leading in a very 
respectable-looking, farmer-like man, with a blue coat and gdt 
buttons scratch wig, corduroy tights, and gaiters. 'This is a 
witness to character, my lord,' said Checkley. Jerry Keller (the 
counsel) forthwith began to examine the witness. After asking 
him his name and residence, 4 You know the prisoner in the dock ? ' 
said Keller. 'Yes, your honour, ever since he was a gorsoon V 
'And what is his general character?' said Keller. * Ogh, the 
devil a worse ! ' ' Why, what sort of a witness is this yon 've 
brought?' cried Keller, passionately, flinging down his brief, and 



looking furiously at Checkley; 1 he has ruined us-F 'He may 
prove an alibi, however,' returned Checkley; 'examine him to 
alibi as instructed in your brief.' Keller accordingly resumed his 
examination. ' Where was the prisoner on the 10th instant ?' 
mid be. 'He was near Castlemartyr,' answered the witness. 
'Are you sure of that?' 'Quite sure, counsellor!' ' How do 
you know with such certainty?' 'Because upon that very night 
1 was returning from the fair, and when I got near my own house, 
1 saw the prisoner a little way on before me — I'd swear to him 
anywhere. He was dodging about, and I knew it could be for 
no good end. So I slipped into the field, and turned off my horse 
to grass ; and while I was watching the lad from behind the 
ditch, I saw him pop across the wall into my garden and steal a 
lot of parsnips and carrots ; and, what I thought a great dale 
worse of, he stole a bran-new English spade I had got from my 
landlord, Lord Shannon. So, faix ! I cut away after him, but aa 
I was tired from the day's labour, and he being fresh and nimble, 
I wasn't able to ketch him. But next day my spade was seen 
surely in his house, and that 's the same rogue in the dock ! ] 
wish I had a hoult of him.' ' It is quite evident,' said the judge, 
that we must acquit the prisoner ; the witness has clearly estab- 
lished an alibi for him ; Castlemartyr is nearly sixty miles from 
gantry • and he certainly is anything but a partisan of his. Pray, 
friend,' addressing the witness, ' will you swear informations 
against the prisoner for his robbery of your property ? ' ' Troth 
i will, my lord ! with all the pleasure in life, if your lordshifi 
thinks I can get any satisfaction out of him. I 'm tould I can f;>r 
the spade, but not for the carrots and parsnips.' ' Go to the 
Crown Office and swear informations,' said the judge. 

" The prisoner was of course discharged, the alibi having clearly 
been established ; in an hour s time some inquiry was made as to 
whether Checkley s rural witness had sworn informations in the 
Crown Office. That gentleman was not to be heard of: the 
prisoner also had vanished immediately on being discharged— 
and of course resumed his mal -practices forthwith. It needs 


hardly he told, that Lord Shannon's soi-disant tenant dealt a little 
in fiction, and that the whole story of his farm from that nobleman, 
and of the prisoner's thefts of the spade and the vegetables, was a 
pleasant device of Mr Checkley's. I told this story," continued 
O'Connell, " to a coterie of English barristers with whom I dined; 
and it was most diverting to witness their astonishment at Mr 
Checkley's unprincipled ingenuity. Stephen Rice, the assistant 
barrister, had so high an admiration of this clever rogue, that he 
declared he would readily walk fifty miles to see Checkley ! " 

The Tralee court-house was the scene of some curious 
episodes. One of these was thus related by O'Connell : — 

"O'Grady was on one occasion annoyed at the disorderly noise, 
in the court-house at Tralee. He bore it quietly for some time, 
expecting that Denny (the High Sheriff) would interfere to restore 
order. Finding, however, that Denny, who was reading in his 
box, took no notice of the riot, Grady rose from the bench, and 
called out to the studious High Sheriff, 'Mr Denny, I just got up 
to hint that I 'm afraid the noise in the court will prevent you 
from reading your novel in quiet.' 

u After O'Grady had retired from the bench, some person placed 
a large stuffed owl on the sofa beside him. The bird was of enor 
mous size, and had been brought as a great curiosity from the 
tropics. O'Grady looked at the owl for a moment, and then said 
with a gesture of peevish impatience, 1 Take away that owl ! take 
away that owl ! If you don't, I shall fancy I am seated again oij 
the Exchequer Bench beside Baron Foster ! 9 

" Those who have seen Baron Foster on the bench, can best 
appreciate the felicitous resemblance traced by his venerable 
brother judge between his lordship and an old stuffed owl.' 

"Judge O'Grady was by no means deficient in wit. Mr PurcoH 
O'Gorman, previously to emancipation, was one of the most violent 
. pot and out partisans of the Catholic party. He often declared 
that 1 did not go far enough. We were once standing together hi 


the inn at Ennis, and I took up a prayer-book which lay in the 
w indow-, and said, kissing it, ' By virtue of this book, I will not 
take place or office from the Government, until emancipation is 
carried. Now, Purcell, my man ! will you do as much 1 ' Pnrceli 
0' Gorman put the book to his lips, but immediately put it away, 
saying, 'I won't swear; I needn't ! my word is as good as my 
oath — I am sure of my own fidelity ! ' When Chief Baron O'Grady 
heard this story, he remarked, 'They were both quite right. Go- 
vernment has nothing worth O'Connell's while to take, until 
emancipation be carried ; but anything at all would be good 
enough for Purcell O'Gorman.'" 

Some waggish barrister having accused Nicholas Purcell 

O'Gorman of being a musician, the charge was stoutly 

denied by the accused person. 

"A jury," said O'Connell, " was thereupon impannelled to try 
the defendant, who persisted in pleading ' Not guilty ' to the 
indictment for melodious practices. The jury consisted of Con 
Lyne, under twelve different aliases — such as ' Con of the Seven 
Bottles,' 'Con of the Seven Throttles/ * Crim-Con,' and so 
forth. The prosecutor then proceeded to interrogate the defen- 
dant : — ' By virtue of your oath, Mr O'Gorman, did you never 
play on any musical instrument 1 ' — ' Never, on my honour ! ' re- 
plied Purcell. ' Come, sir, recollect yourself. By virtue of your 
oath, did you never play second fiddle to O'Connell ? ' — The fact 
was too notorious to admit of any defence, and the unanimous jury 
accordingly returned a verdict of guilty." 

O'Connell once received a singular compliment from one 

of his clients whom he had unsuccessfully defended for 

cow-stealing — 

" I was once," said he, " counsel for a cow-stealer, who waa 
clearly convicted — the sentence was transportation for fourteen 
years. At the end of that time he returned, and happening to 
meet me, he began to talk about the trial. I asked him how he 


ha<l always managed to steal the fat cows ; to which he gravely 
answered : — ' Why, then, I'll tell your honour the whole secret of 
thot, sir. JFhenerer your honour goes to steal a cow, always go on 
the worst night you can, for if the weather is very bad, the chances 
are that nobody will be up to see your honour. The way ym ; 11 
always know the fat cattle in the dark is by this token— th*£ the 
iat rows always stand out in the more exposed places, but the 
lean ones always go into the ditch for shelter.' So," continued 
O'Connell, " I got that lesson in cow-stealing gratis from my 
worthy client." 

O'Connell visited Limerick, Cork, and Tralee in this 
circuit. He then posted to Dublin with Harry Deane Grady. 
The journey was long and dangerous. 2 The rebellion had 
been crushed by brute force, but the fire was still smoulder- 
ing, and bands of hunted men, who were unable to work, 
because there was no work for them to do, and who could 
at best sell their lives dearly, haunted the mountains in 

2 O'Connell often contrasted the rapid mode of modern travelling with 
the slower movements of past days. " I remember," said he, " when I 
left Darrynane for London in 1795, my first day's journey was to Carheil 
— my second to Killorglin—iuy third to Tralee — my fourth to Limerick 
— two days thence to Dublin. I sailed from Dublin in the evening — 
my pas.-age to Holyhead was performed in twenty-four hours ; from 
Holyhead to Chester, took six-and-thirty hours ; from Chester to London, 
three days. My uncle kept a diary of a tour he made in England be- 
tween the years '70 and '80, and one of his memorabilia was 'This day 
we have travelled thirty-six miles, and passed through part of rive 
counties.' In 1780, the two members for the county of Kerry sent to 
Dublin lor a noddy, and travelled together in it from Kerry to Dublin. 
The journey occupied seventeen days ; and each night the two members 
quartered themselves at the house of some friend ; and on the seven- 
teenth day they reached Dublin, just in time for the commencement of 
the session. I remember in 1817 dodging for eight hours about Caernar- 



different parts of Ireland. Every man's hand was against 
(hem, and their hand was against every man. 

A party had taken up their abode in the Kilworth moun- 
tains through which O'Connell and his companion were 
obi iged to pass. In the evening, while resting at the Fermoy 
inn, four dragoons came in, one of whom was a corporal. 
O'Connell and his companion were anxious to provide them- 
selves with ammunition, but this was by no means easy to 
obtain. Mr Cfrady opened negotiations with the corporal — 

" Soldier, will you sell me some powder and ball ? " 

" Sir, I don't sell powder," replied the corporal, who in his own 
opinion was no soldier. 

" Will you then have the goodness to buy me some 1 " said 
Grady; "in these unsettled times the dealers in the article are 
reluctant to sell it to strangers like us." 

" Sir," replied the corporal, " I am no man's messenger but the 
king's — go yourself. " 

" Grady," said O'Connell in a low tone, " you have made a 
great mistake. Did you not see by the mark on his sleeve that 

von Harbour before we could land. When on shore, I proceeded to 
Capelcarrig, where I was taken very ill ; and I was not consoled by re- 
flecting that should my illness threaten life, there was no Catholic priest 
within forty miles of me." Among other illustrations of the state of 
things in the good old days of Tory rule, he recorded the fate of a poor 
half-witted creature called " Jack of the roads," who, in the earlier part 
of the century, used to run alongside the Limerick coaches :— " He once 
made a bet of fourpence and a pot of porter that he would run to Dub] in 
from Limerick, keeping pace with the mail. He did so, and when he 
was passing through. Mountrath on his return, on the 12th of July 1807 
cr 1808, he nourished a green bough at a party of Orangemen who were 
holding their orgies. One of them fired at his face ; his eyes were de« 
stroyed— he lingered and died— and there was an end of poor Jack." 



the man is a corporal ? You mortified his pride in calling him a 
soldier, especially before his own men, amongst whom he doubt- 
less plays the officer." 

Having suffered a few minutes to elapse, O'Connell entered into 
conversation with the dragoon: 

M Did you ever see such rain as we had to-day, sergeant ? I was 
very glad to find that the regulars had not the trouble of escort- 
ing the judges. It was very suitable work for those awkward 

"Yes, indeed, sir," returned the corporal, evidently flattered at 
being mistaken for a sergeant, " we were very lucky in escaping 
those torrents of rain." 

" Perhaps, sergeant, you will have the kindness," continued 
O'Connell, " to buy me some powder and ball in town. We are 
to pass the Kil worth mountains, and shall want ammunition. You 
can, of course, find no difficulty in buying it ; but it is not to 
every one they sell these matters." 

'•Sir,*' said the corporal, ''I shall have great pleasure in re- 
questing your acceptance of a small supply of powder and ball. 
My balls will, I think, just fit your pistols. You'll stand in need 
of ammunition, for there are some of those out-lying rebelly rascals 
on the mountains." 

" Dan," said Grady, in a low tone, " you'll go through the world 
successfully, that I can easily foresee." 3 

And Dan did go through the world successfully. 

* The last remaining robber was shot about the year 1810, by the 
postmaster of Fermoy. Several persons had been robbed a short time 
previously ; whereupon the postmaster and another inhabitant of Fer- 
moy hired a chaise and drove to the mountains of Kilworth. The 
robber spied the chaise, came to rob, upon which the postmaster shofc 
him dead. 

"There was," said O'Connell, "a narrow causeway thrown across a 
glen, which formed a peculiarly dangerous part of the old road ; it was 



(V Council's first speech, was made in opposition to the 
mi ion. Fortunately a copy of this most important docu- 
ment has been preserved. It was the key-note to 
O'Connell's political life, and from this first declaration 
of his principles he never departed or swerved for a second. 
His family were against him, and especially his undo 
Maurice, to whom he owed his education. Political life was 
a dangerous game, and a losing one, and old " Huntings 
cap," though he lived all his life in the wilds of Kerry, knew 

undefended by guard-walls, and too narrow for two carriages to pass 
abreast. The post-boys used to call it 'the delicate bit and a ticklish 
spot it surely was on a dark night, approached at one end from a steep 

O'Connell used to tell a good story of his friend Harry Grady — " I 
remember a good specimen of his skill in cross-examination at an assizes 
at Tralee, where he defended some still-owners who had recently had a 
scuffle with five soldiers. The soldiers were witnesses against the still- 
owners. Harry Grady cross-examined each soldier in the following 
manner, out of hearing of his brethren, who were kept out of court : — 
' Well, soldier, it was a murderous scuffle, wasn't it 1 ' — ' Yes.'— 4 But you 
weren't afraid ? ' — ' No.'—' Of course you weren't. It is part of your 
sworn duty to die in the king's service if needs must. But. if you were 
not afraid, maybe others were not quite so brave ? Were any of your 
comrades frightened 1 Tell the truth now.'— « Why, indeed, sir, I can't 
say but they were.'— < Ah, I thought so. Come, now, name the men 
who were frightened — on your oath, now.' 

" The soldier then named every one of his four comrades. He waa 
then sent down, and another soldier called upon the table, to whom 
Grady addressed precisely the same set of queries, receiving precisely the 
same answers ; until at last he got each of the five soldiers to swear, 
that he alone had fought the still-owners bravely, and that all his foul 
comrades were cowards. Tims Harry succeeded in utterly discrediting 
the soldiers' evidence against his clients." 



quite enough of public affairs to make him anxious to keep 
Darrynane in the family, and to keep young Dan's head on 
Ml shoulders. But young Dan was thoroughly capable of 
taking care of himself, and he continued to steer through 
the difficult period of the Union without any personal in- 

The Union was formally brought before the English 
Houses of Parliament by messages from the Crown on the 
22d of January 1709, but Mr Pitt had laid his plans for 
it as far back as 1784, when he came into office. He set 
himself to work with that steady determination which is 
the best promise of success, and with that unscrupulous 
disregard of justice which generally serve* for a time. The 
difficulties he met with, and probably the steady opposition 
of his powerful rival, Fox, were a further incentive. 

Fox had very clear ideas of Irish policy for an English 
statesman. He saw that the divisions of the Irish them- 
selves — those divisions with which they have been so fre- 
quently taunted, and which are so little understood — were 
the principal cause of the misfortunes of this unhappy 
country. He could not understand why Irish politicians 
would not work together, 4 and forgot that English poli- 

" February 8th, 1799. 
4 " If the Irish would stick to one another, they might play a game 
that would have more chance of doing good, than any that has been in 
question for a long time. They might win the battle that we lost in 1784, 
and which after all is the pivot upon which every tiling turns. They ought 


rioians were equally, though not so disastrously divided. 
He did not understand, what we fear has never yet been 
thoroughly understood, the state of government in Ireland, 
and why Irishmen were disunited, or only united in parties 
to oppose each other. 

The only attempt at a Republican government in Ire- 
Inn (1 had been the Parliament of Kilkenny, held by the 
Confederates in 1645. It was certainly some sort of satis- 
faction to the nation at large to feel that they had any kind 
of national representation ; the meeting of a Parliament in 
Dublin gave a certain appearance of status to the country, 
but it was only an appearance. The members of both 
Houses were, with a very few exceptions, members of the 
English Government, the nation was not represented. 
Ireland was a Catholic nation, yet not one single Catholic 
could raise his voice in that assembly. Irishmen were 
allowed to vote, and after a time Catholics were allowed to 
vote nominally; but the vote was only nominal, it was 
little more than a badge of slavery ; for woe to the free- 
holder who dared to have an opinion of his own ! woe to the 
"independent elector" who availed himself of his supposed 

The majority, the vast majority, of those who sat in the 

to be very careful to confine themselves, however, to Irish ministers, 
and great officers in Ireland, and they would be in no danger (unless I 
am very much deceived indeed) of being deserted by the people, as w« 
were." — Fox's Letters, vol. iv. p. 157. 


Irish House of Lords, and the Irish House of Commons, 
were men who had no Irish interests whatever, who, far 
from having such interests, actually hated and scorned the 
men whom they were supposed to represent. They had one 
god, and they worshipped him with unfailing devotion — 
for him they were ready to sacrifice honour, principle, 
and self-respect; for him they were willing to imhrue 
their hands in the very life-blood of the unhappy men 
whose interests they were supposed to represent.* 

Pitt knew perfectly well the difficulties he would have to 
meet in effecting his purpose. He had four classes to deal 
with, and he dealt with them one by one with a masterly 
ability worthy of a better cause. 

* Fox wrote to Lord II< .llan'l on the 10th of January 1700 : — 
"I own I think, according to the plan \\ it h which you have set out, that 
you ought to attend the Union ; nor do I feel much any of your ol sec- 
tions, I mean to attendance, for in all those to the Union I agree with 
you entirely. If it were only for the state of representation in their 
House of Commons, I should object to it ; but when you add the state 
of the country, it is the most monstrous proposition that ever was made. 
w hat has given rise to the report of my being f>r it I cannot guess, as 
exclusive of temporary objections I never had the least liking to the 
SPefcsure, though I confess I have less attended to the arguments pro and 
v>n than | erhaps I otherwise should have done, from a full conviction 
that it was completely impossible. You know, I dare say, that my 
general principle in politics is very much against the 0*6 and indivisible, 
and if 1 were to allow myself a leaning to any extreme it would be to 
that of Federalism. Pray, therefore, whenever you hear my opinion men- 
tioned, declare for me my decided disapprobation ; not that I would have 
my wish to have this known a reason fur your attendance, however, if 
otherwise you wish to stay away." — /W* Correspondence, vol. iv. p. 150- 



He had to deal with the people of Ireland, with those 
units who are considered so insignificant when counted 
by ones, who are so terribly formidable when you ccme 
to add the ones, and discover that they amount to millions. 
A multitude is terribly formidable even without leaders, 
even when they are held in chains. The English ministei 
knew this, and crushed the multitude. If it did cost some 
millions of money, what matter ! his was an extravagant 
administration, and he hoped to revenge himself after the 
Union. As to the lives, the agony, the legacy of hatred, 
all that " went without saying." Perhaps he deplored the 
blood and crime a little, not having the brutal nature of 
Cromwell, who delighted in it, but he consoled himself 
with the reflection that state policy requires sacrifice. 

The benefit of England was the one grand object. 6 It 

6 This was no secret. In 1699, Sir Richard Cox wrote a work, en- 
titled " The English Interest in Ireland," proposing a Union in the fol- 
lowing words : — 

" It is your interest to unite and incorporate us with England ; for 
by that means the English interest will always be prevalent here, and the 
kingdom as secure to you as Wales, or any county in England. Your 
taxes will be lessened when we bear part of the burden. . . . All our 
money will still centre at London; and our trade and communicatica 
with England will be so considerable, that we shall think ourselves at 
home when there ; and where one goes thither now, then ten will go 
when all our business is transacted in your Parliament, to which, if we 
send sixty-four knights lor our thirty-two counties, ten lords, and six 
bishops, they may spend our money, but cannot influence your councils to 
your disadvantage. . . . By the Union, England will get much of out 
money, and abundance of our trade." 

This man was a specimen of the class of men who carried the Union 



ffas right, it was more than justifiable that Englishmen 
should seek the advancement of their own nation above all 
thing>, but they were equally bound in common honesty 
either to treat Irish interests as synonymous with their 
own, or to leave Ireland perfectly free to look after her 
< wn interests. It was not just to treat her as a dependency, 
or rather as a country which was to be used solely for 
the interests of those who had made themselves her masters 
by force of arms. 

Fox was probably the only English statesman of his 
time who had thoroughly clear ideas as to the duty and the 
good policy of making English and Irish interests coincide. 
He held and expressed strong views as to the power of the 
people, and was decidedly of opinion that Parliament could 
not make a Union between the two countries either with 
legal or moral right, unless Parliament had the sanction of 
the people. 

*' Supposing the Stamp Act were beneficial to America, 

or who represented Ireland. Though lii-li by birth, his interests were 
wholly English. 

In 1751, Sir Matthew Dicker wrote " Essays on Trade," in which he 
•nil : — 

"By a union with Ireland the taxes of Great Britain will be les- 
sened." In 1767, Postlethwayte wrote a work, entitled " Britain's Com- 
mercial Interest," in which he said : " By the Union, Ireland would soon 
be enabled to pay a million a year towards the taxes of Great Britain ; 
the riches of Ireland would chiefly return to England, she containing 
the seat of empire ; the Irish lairds would be little better than tenants to 
her, for allowing them the privilege of making the best, of their rela- 
tions." — P. 203. 



Parliament was not competent in any sense of the word 
to enact it. Supposing a Union would be beneficial to 
Ireland, Parliament again is not competent to enact it, 
because it is not within its commission to destroy the cola* 
stitution which it is instituted to support, even though it 
should place a better in its stead; and here comes in with 
propriety what Locke says, that Parliament is to make 
laws and not legislatures. I cannot think, for instance, 
that Parliament is competent to declare Great Britain an 
absolute monarchy, or a republic, though it should 
be of opinion that the change would be for the 
better. For such revolutions there must be a known 
opinion of the people, and though such opinion be difficult 
to collect legally, yet for practical purposes it may be col- 
lected in a practical way, as I contend that it was, or at 
least that it was pretended to be, in 1088 and 1706. It is 
said that this reasoning goes to say, that Parliament, which 
is instituted to improve, cannot be competent to impair 
the Constitution ; the answer is, that whether a projected 
alteration be an improvement or an injury, is a question 
upon which Parliament is commissioned to judge, but 
annihilation (which Union must be allowed to be) 
is not within their commission. That it is nmihila- 
tion, I, of course, suppose proved, before I deny the com- 

We have seen how Mr Pitt dealt with the people. His 
mode of dealing with the upper classes was far more simple 


and effective. They wanted money, and he flung it about 
With reckless prodigality. The sale of boroughs was always 
a profitable source of income to Anglo-Irish noblemen. 
They wi re a needy race, and by no means satisfied with 
their poverty. In their folly and infatuation they en- 
couraged the rebellion, forgetting that they were but im- 
poverishing themselves. They soon learned their fatal 
mistake, but they had not the wisdom to discern the 

It was always hard for the Irish tenant to pay his rent, 
necau>e he was not allowed a straw for his bricks, though 
the bricks were required all the same ; but after the rebel- 
lion there was a deficiency of tenants, and no amount of 
torture could wring money from the hapless few who re- 
mained to till the impoverished soil. The circulation of the 
Bank of Ireland also was discredited, and, of course, the 
poor were the sufferers. The tenants were obliged to pay 
in gold when they could be made pay at all, but the scar- 
city was so great that the tradesmen were paid in paper 
money, thus throwing the burden still on the people. 7 

7 On the 8th June 1799, Lord Devonshire wrote to Lord Castlereagh . 
"Whilst I have the pen in my hand, I beg leave to trespass upon your 
Lordship a little longer, to state a great grievance that this part of the 
world labours under, which, if possible, ought to be stopped — that is, the 
sale of the gold coin. When Government thought fit, two or three 
years ago, to encourage the circulation of bank paper, that traffic began. 
I gave all the assistance I could to Government in their object; and 
took bank paper in my office for rent, which I still continue to do, which, 



The bribery system was not made any secret. Gentle- 
men knew their worth, and were by no means modest 
in proclaiming it. If they were to sell honour and 
conscience, at least they meant to have the fall value of 

Lord Cornwallis wrote to Major-General Ros« 01? the 23d 
November 1798, and gave some charmingly naive descrip- 
tions of how affairs were being managed. He was obliged 
to talk a great deal, and found it a bore. He thought the 
Catholics might as well have got the benefit of what was 
going, they, at the very time, being kept under the de- 
lusion that they were to be included. He declared the 
Lords-Lieutenant had been idle and incapable, yet Irish 
men were wildly blamed if they were not loyal to them, 

I believe, none of my neighbours do. I understand Lord Hertford, 
Lord Donegal, Lord Londonderry, &c, never have and do not take any 
paper for their rents ; but now I cannot pay a bill to any tradesman in 
Belfast or the country, in bank notes, without allowing from threepence 
to eightpence in every guinea. I understand it is the same hi the pay 
of the army. The conduct of the Bank of Ireland is so illiberal, if not 
illegal, and, besides, take so little pains to stop forgeries upon them, that 
I shall no longer take their paper as rent in my office. There is scarce 
a remittance made to Dublin but two or three notes are returned as 
forged. They have left off defacing the note, indeed, as they used to 
do, by which a poor honest man lost eight five-pound notes that my 
agent recovered for him ; but he had not taken the same precaution 
my agent did, as the notes were so defaced by an oiled red stamp that 
lie could not swear to the paper, and those that he thought had paid 
them to him denied that these notes were those they paid him. I have 
ordered no notes to be taken, till some means are devised to prevent the 
gross imposition of paying for goloV' 


and he declared the whole manner of governing Ireland 

was founded on the " grossest corruption. " 

On the 27th of April 1799, Lord Cornwall^ wrote to 

the Bishop of Lichfield, giving a wretched picture of the 

state of Ireland. 

" This wretched country remains much in the same state, — the 
seeds of disaffection, of hatred of England, and in particular (and, 
I am sorry to say, in general with more reason) of their own land- 
lords, are as deeply rooted as ever, and frequently break out in 
various shapes, such as the murder of magistrates, or the hough- 
ing of cattle : our politicians of the old leaven are as much occu- 
pied with their dirty jobs as ever. Those who think at all of the 
great question of the Union, confine their speculation to the 
simple question of its either promoting or counteracting their own 
private views, and the great mass of the people neither think cr 
care about the matter. Under these circumstances, you will 
easily conceive how unpleasant my situation must be, and how little 
I can flatter myself with the hopes of obtaining any credit for 
myself, or of rendering any essential service to my country. 
Sincerely do I repent that I did not return to Bengal. ' 8 

The interested parties were soon satisfied. A sum of 

£1,'JG0,000 was expended in buying up the boroughs, and 

with the addition of a few peerages and pen- ions, the 

• Cornwallis Correspondence, vol. 3, p. 93. 

" My time has lately been much taken up with seeing, and breaking 
to the principal persons here, the projected Union, and when you send 
for a man on such business, he must stay with you and talk to you as 
long as he likes. I have no great doubts of being able to carry the 
measure here, but I have great apprehensions of the inefficacy of it after 
it is carried, and I do not think it would have been much more difficult 
to have included the Catholics. 

" Those who are called principal persons here, are men who have been 


work was done. Lord Devonshire got £52,500, and Lord 
Ely £45,000. Three or four powerful families had the 
representation of Ireland completely in their power, either 
by the possession of large property, or by intermarriages. 
The Ponsonbys had no less than twenty-two seats under 
their complete control. The Devonshire and Beresford 
families had almost the same number. Lord Longueville 
ruled Cork and Mallow with six other places. 

The principal difficulty was with the Catholic clergy, 
who could not be bribed, but whom it was quite possible to 
deceive. The managers of the Union were not particular how 
the work was effected, with perhaps the exception of Lord 
Corn wallis, who had some idea of honour even where Papists 
were concerned. It is to be regretted that the Catholic 
Bishops, who worked for the Union, did not see some oi 
the private correspondence in which they were mentioned, 
and did not hear some of the private conversations which 
have been recorded, and sent down to posterity. 

Sir J. Hippisley, who was specially employed to cajole 
the Catholics, wrote to Lord Castlereagh : — 

" The Speaker told me, some time before, that Mr Pitt had 
much approved the suggestions I had offered, with respect to the 

raised into consequence, only by having the entire disposal of the pat 
ronage of the Crown in return for their undertaking the management 
of the country, because the Lords-Lieutenant were too idle or too in- 
capable to management it themselves. They are detested by everybody 
but their immediate followers, and have no influence but what is founded 
on the grossest corruption."— Cornwallis' Correspondence, vol. 3, p. 445. 


distinctions and checks on the Monastic Clergy. Your Lordship 
will permit me to quote a vulgar Italian proverb, which is this: — 
"One must he aware of a bull before, of an ass at his heels, and of 
a friar on all sides." Seven years' experience on Catholic ground 
convinced me that this adage was well imagined." 

On the 5th of June 1799, the Earl of Altamont wrote 
from Westport House — " The priests have all appeared to 
6ign, and though I am not proud of many of them as asso- 
ciates, I will take their signatures to prevent a possibility 
of a counter declaration." 9 

On the 3rd of June 1799, Lord Castlereagh wrote to 

• " If the Roman Catholics stand forward, it will be unwillingly; they 
are keeping bock decidedly, but many will be influenced, and some few 
who connected themselves with the Protestants during the disturbance 
will be zealously forward on the present occasion. The priests have all 
offered to sign ; and, though I am not proud of many of them as asso- 
ciates, I will take their signatures, to prevent a possibility of a counter- 
declaration. I hear the titular Archbishop has expressed himself inclined 
to the measure This day, I have sent round to all the Catholics oi 
property in the country : I may be mistaken, but, in my judgment, the 
wish of the most of them would be to stand neuter ; or, perhaps, if they 
had any countenance, to oppose it — that is the fact Several will sign 
from influence, some from fear; but the majority, I believe, will pretend 
that they have given opinions already, and can't decently retract them. 
You shall know exactly when I get to Dublin. Every man applied to, 
of all persuasions, wants to make it personal compliment" — Memoir oj 
Viscount Castlereagh, vol. ii. p. 328. 

Mr Cook wrote to Lord Castlereagh at the close of 1798 to inform 
him of public opinion in Dublin : — 

" The Dublin argument is this: — Absenteeism will increase— interest 
of the debt to England will increase — and we cannot bear the drain. Our 
manufactures will be ruined by putting an end to duties between the 
two countries. All the proprietors in Dublin must be injured. We 
shall be liable to British debts," &c 


the Duke of Portland that the rebellion " was managed by 
the inferior priests." There were certainly some of the 
Catholic clergy who united with the rebels in self-defence, 
but a careful examination of the correspondence of the 
times will show at once that they were few in number, and 
that the Government relied much on the co-operation of the 
priests, even at the very time that many of them were being 
treated with inhuman cruelty. 

On the 20th of July 1799, Lord Cornwallis wrote to 
the Duke of Portland, that the u clergy of the Church, par- 
ticularly the superior, countenance the measure," and that 
the linen merchants of the north were much too busy with 
their trade to think much on the subject. 1 If the Catholic 

1 These letters are so important an illustration of the state of Ireland 
at this period that we give further extracts: — 

" Within these few clays, the Catholics have shown a disposition to 
depart from their line of neutrality, and to support the measure. Those 
of the city of Waterford have sent up a very strong declaration in 
favour of Union, at the same time expressing a hope that it will lead 
to the accomplishment of their emancipation, as they term it, but not 
looking to it as a preliminary. The Catholics of Kilkenny have agree! 
to a similar declaration ; and, as the clergy of that Church, particularly 
the superiors, countenance the measure, it is likely to extend itself. 

" In the North, the public opinion is much divided on the question. 
In Deny and Donegal, the gentry are in general well-disposed. The 
linen merchants are too busily employed in their trade to think much 
on the subject, or to take an active part on either side ; but I under- 
stand they are, on the whole, rather favourable, wishing to have their 
trade secured, which they do not feel, notwithstanding the Speaker's 
argument, to be independent of Great Britain." — Memoirs of Viscount 
Castlereacjk, vol ii. p. 351. 


Bouth had been allowed to trade as well as the Protestant 
north, and permitted the same liberty of conscience, Eng- 
land might have saved herself some millions of money. 

There was some difficulty in Tipperary, and Lord Castle- 
reegh wrote to the Duke of Portland complaining that the 
country members had voted against the Government, which 
he declared to be a " a very unconstitutional practice," 
and but too prevalent in Ireland. Thus, while the tenant 
was compelled to vote as his landlord pleased, his repre- 
sentative was to vote as the Government pleased. This, 
of course, was only in the Irish Parliament, where tenants 
and members should alike be deeply grateful for the pri- 
vilege of being allowed to vote at all, and were bound, 
according to English views of Irish constitutional liberty, 
to vote as their masters ordered them. Certainly, under 
the circumstances, it ought not to have been so difficult to 
carry the Union. Neither wuld it have been difficult, 
had not a number of the members discovered that a good 
deal of capital could be made of their votes. 8 

One of the most remarkable and able letters of the whole 

2 Lord tie Clifford wrote an elaborate letter to Mr Townsend, 23d 
July 1799, in which lie puts forward very strong objections to the 
Union, manifestly for the purpose of enhancing his price. With a can- 
dour almost too transparent for laughter, he concludes by saying that, 
if lie believed the measure for the public good, he would sacrifice hi* 
boroughs ; hut as he does not, he cannot be unmindful of his private 
Uitere>ts. One can scarcely believe it possible that any educated man 
ODuld coolly write his own shame so openly. 


series was written by Mr Luke Fox, afterwards a judge of 
Common Pleas, to Lord Castlereagh. He grasped the 
whole subject with resolute precision. 3 The population of 
Ireland, lie estimated at more than five millions five hun- 
dred thousand. Of these only 500,000 were Protestants. 
This population was again divided into three classes, who 
1 composed three distinct nations, as different in character 
.iiid principles and habits of life as the antipodes." 

" The object is to form them into one united people under the 

3 The following extracts from his letter will prove that he did this : — 

" With regard to the measure itself, supposing the nation, or even the 
Parliament, should be induced to adopt it, I much fear that the great 
number of absentees which would immediately follow its being carried 
into execution would be much more likely to occasion the rebellion's 
breaking out afresh, than it would tend to restoring peace and quietness, 
even were the majority of the well-affected in favour of it. It is a 
well-known fact to those that are at all acquainted with the interior of 
Ireland, that a very great majority of the people look upon the proprie- 
tors of the land of the country as a set of usurpers, and have been ready 
(time immemoiial) to rise and wrest their property from them on the 
first opportunity. I am perfectly convinced that we owe the salvation 
of the country during the late rebellion (which, by the by, I fear is not 
suppressed, but barely smothered) more to the personal exertions of the 
country gentlemen in devoting their whole time, their lives, and their 
properties, to keeping their tenantry and neighbours in order, than we 
do to the great military force that was brought into the kingdom. If. 
by forcing a Union upon this country, you disgust one-half of these 
gentlemen and convert the other half into absentees, you will leave the 
country a prey to the machinations of the disaffected, and the conse- 
quence I fear would be fatal." 

He then alludes to the Scotch Union, and says Scotland would have 
improved just as fast if left independent :— 

" The very reverse appears to me to be the best policy for Ireland. 


rule of the British constitution, and to unite, by sentiment and 
interest, that people to Great Britain. Our fleets may display 
their triumphant flags in every quarter of the globe ; our troops 
may conquer, but barren are their laurels and futile their 
triumphs, when compared to the advantages likely to result to 
Great Britain and Ireland from this measure in a military, com- 
mercial and financial point of view. But, to proceed to delineate 
the mode — it is material to observe how these three distinct 
bodies, the Protestants, the Presbyterians, and the Catholics, 
stand affected to the question of Union. 

"The Frotr-tants, composing about 50,000 souls, the descend- 
ants of English colonists, possess the whole power and patronage, 
and almost the whole landed property of the country. 

11 They are, of course, political monopolists, and can only be 
gained by influence. 

" The Catholics, composing the mass of the population, amount- 
ing at least to three millions — four would have been more correct — 
of souls, descendants of the original inhabitants, or of colonists 
who degenerated, and, in the language of the historian, not very 

The landed interest you have already attached to you, both from prin- 
ciple and interest. The great body of the people are against you, and 
I should therefore think that, instead of holding out inducements to 
them to leave it, you ought rather to give them every encouragement to 
reside upon their estates, and guard the mutual interests and connection 
of the two kingdoms, where they have most power to do it with effect. 

"Lcrd Castlereagh informs me that 'it is intended that the counties 
should return two members, as at present ; that the populous cities and 
towns should return one member each, and the rest of the boroughs be 
pasted as in Scotland, making a proportionate compensation to the 
proprietors/ Though I solemnly declare I would not hesitate a mo- 
ment sacrificing my borough interest if I was convinced the measure 
was f< it the public good, I cannot be expected (entertaining the doubts 
that I do respecting it), to be wholly unmindful of my private interests, 
and I should wish much to know in what light my boroughs would be 
looked upon according to this plan." 




classical hut strong, became Hibernicu ipsis Hiberniores, are, for the 
most part, poor, uneducated, and ignorant, deriving weight almost 
solely from their numbers, added to a natural vigour of body and 
astuteness of mind, capable, under a proper regimen, of being 
modelled to the most beneficial ends, both civil and military. 
They are at present in the lowest state of political depression, in 
a semi-barbarous state (as has been truly observed), and thereby 
eminently qualified to answer the continual drains on a great 
commercial empire to supply her fleets and armies in every acces- 
sible quarter of the globe. These are to be gained by concession. 

" The Protestants are, from every motive of a monopolising 
interest, determined opponents to the scheme of Union, by which 
they must lose that monopoly of power and profit, which it is not 
in human nature voluntarily to resign when once possessed. 
Does any man think that Mr Foster and Mr Ponsonby are actu- 
ated by such motives 1 Religion is a mere pretence — the true 
bone of contention is the monopoly of Irish power and 

Never was a truer word said. Not only did these mono- 
polists sell " power and patronage," but they actually made 
every effort to depress Irish industry, because, if the Irish 
once began to be an independent nation, their gain was 
gone. 4 

Such was the state of public affairs when O'Connell made 
his first speech. The bar were nearly all against the Union, 

4 The Beresford family were amongst the most rapacious and 
pulous of this class. Lord Auckland wrote to Mr Beresford, that Eng- 
land " ought to check that system of liberality and fostering protection 
which tended to increase Irish capital and prosperity, and give ex- 
tended means of mischief." So that all that has been done to ruin 
Ireland was not considered sufficient by those men who wished to build 
their fortunes on her misery. 



and even Mr Saurin, who was the father of the bar. and a 

conscientious hater of Catholics, was warmly opposed to it. 

The bar held their first meeting on the 9th of December 

1 798. Mr Saurin had been elected some years before to 

the command of the Lawyers' Volunteer Corps, and now 

issued the following order: — 

" Lawyers' Infantry. — The corps is ordered to parade at 
twelve at noon at the new court in the new regimentals. A 
punctual attendance is requested, as business of the utmost im- 
portance is to be transacted. 

u (Signed) Stewart King, Adjutant." 

The majority of the bar, 5 however, suggested that a dis- 
cussion in an armed assembly was unsuitable, and the 
result was a meeting as civilians. At this meeting Mr 
Saurin moved — 

u That the measure of a legislative union of Great Britain, 
is an innovation which it would be highly dangerous and im- 
proper to propose at the present juncture of affairs in this 

Mr Plimket said — 

" Should the administration propose that measure now, it will 
be carried. For animosity and want of time to consider coolly its 

6 Lord Cornwallis wrote to the Duke of Portland : — "The bar have 
been most forward in their opposition, and have been this day assembled 
as a corps, it is understood, with an intention of taking up the question. 
Should that learned body be so intemperate as to set an example to the 
yeomanry at large, unconstitutional in the extreme, and dangerous to the 
public safety, I shall feel myself called on, in the outset, to meet this 
attempt to overawe the King's Government and the legislature with 
decision." — Cornwallis' Correspondence, vol. i ; i. p. 5. 


consequences, and fort}' thousand British troops in Ireland, will 
cam" the measure. But in a little time the people will awaken as 
from a dream, and what consequences will follow I tremble to 
think. For myself, I declare that I oppose a union principally be- 
cause I am convinced that it will accelerate a total separation of 
the two countries." 

The determined conduct of the bar was certainly annoy- 
ing to the Government, and on the 15th December Lord 
Cornwallis wrote to the Duke of Portland : — 

[" Secret and confidential."] 

" Dublin Castle, Dec. 15, 1798. 

" My Lord, — Your Grace will probably have seen in the papers 
an account of the violence which disgraced the meeting of the 
barristers, and of the miserable figure which the friends of Union 
made on a division of 32 against 162. 

" The bankers and merchants are to meet on Tuesday next, and 
I do not expect a more favourable division on that occasion. In 
point of indecency of manners and language, they cannot surpass 
the gentlemen of the learned profession. 

" Our reports of the reception of the measure in the North are 
not favourable, especially about Belfast, and the principal Catho- 
lics about Dublin begin to hold a much less sanguine language 
about the probable conduct of their brethren, and are disposed to 
think that, in this part of the kingdom at least, the greater number 
of them will join in the opposition to the Union." 

In a confidential and friendly letter to Major-General 

Boss, he said — 

"The opposition to the Union increases daily in and about 
Dublin, and I am afraid, from conversations which I have held 
with persons much connected with them, that I was too sanguine 
when I hoped for the good inclinations of the Catholics. Their 
disposition is so completely alienated from the British Govern- 



merit, that I believe they would even be tempted to join with 
their bitterest enemies, the Protestants of Ireland, if they thought 
that measure would lead to a total separation of the two countries. 
My thoughts may be more gloomy, as a black north east wind is 
blowing with great violence, and darkening the hemisphere ; but 
I think, from the folly, obstinacy, and gross corruption which per- 
vade every corner of this island, that it is impossible that it can 
be saved from destruction. I tremble likewise for the spirit of 
enterprise w hich prevails on your side of the water, without troops, 
and in defiance of the seasons." 

On the 27th of December 1 70S, the first number of the 
Anti-Union newspaper was published. Plunket, Grattan, 
and Burke were the chief contributors ; they were the men 
of the day. How little did any one anticipate that the young 
barrister, whose maiden speech is recorded in one of its 
earliest numbers, would at a future time wield a power, and 
possess an influence far superior to theirs — that this youth 
would obtain the justice so long asked for by Catholics, and 
which was denied even to their eloquence and patriotism. 

These meetings were carefully watched, and Major Sirr, 
hut too well known for undertaking any mean office re- 
quired by Government, clattered into the Royal Exchange 
J lull when Mr Moore had taken the chair, and O'Conneli 

9 The fact seem* to be that the Government either deceived themselves 
or * ev<L thoroughly deceived about the Irish Catholics. The latter sug- 
gestion seems to be the more correct, though the deceit was the result of 
their opposition and not of guile. The upper classes of Catholics took on 
UVmiselves to be spokesmen for the rest They expected emancipation, 
and believed the promises of Government. The middle classes were by 
xio means so sanguine, and judged far more correctly. 



was preparing to speak. He had a look at the resolutions, 

which were drawn up by O'Connell himself, probably his 

first effort in that direction, but he could not find anything 

in them to condemn. He dashed out as he had dashed in, 

and O'Connell spoke : — 

" Counsellor O'Connell rose, and in a short speech prefaced the 
resolutions. He said that the question of Union was confessedly 
one of the first importance and magnitude. Sunk, indeed, in 
more than criminal apathy, must that Irishman be, who could feel 
indifference on the subject. It was a measure, to the considera- 
tion of which we were called by every illumination of the under- 
standing, and every feejing of the heart. There was, therefore, 
no necessity to apologise for the introducing the discussion of the 
question amongst Irishmen. But before he brought forward any 
resolution, he craved permission to make a few observations on 
the causes which produced the necessity of meeting as Catholics 
— as a separate and distinct body. In doing so, he thought he 
would clearly show that they were justifiable in at length deviat- 
ing from a resolution which they had heretofore formed. The 
enlightened mind of the Catholics had taught them the impolicy, 
the illiberality, and the injustice of separating themselves on any 
occasion from the rest of the people of Ireland. The Catholics 
had therefore resolved, and they had wisely resolved, never more 
to appear before the public as a distinct and separate body ; but 
they did not — they could not— then foresee the unfortunately 
existing circumstances of this moment. They could not then foresee 
that they would be reduced to the necessity, either of submitting 
to the disgraceful imputation of approving of a measure, as de- 
testable to them as it was ruinous to their country, or once again, 
and he trusted for the last time, of coming forward as a distinct 

"There was no man present but was acquainted with the 
industry with which it was circulated, that the Catholics were 



favourable to the Union. In vain did multitudes of that body, 
in different capacities, express their disapprobation of the mea- 
sure; in vain did they concur with others of their fellow-subjects 
in expressing their abhorrence of it — as freemen or freeholders, 
electors of counties or inhabitants of cities — still the calumny 
was repeated; it was printed in journal after journal ; it was 
published in pamphlet after pamphlet, it was circulated with 
activity in private companies; it was boldly and loudly proclaimed 
in public assemblies. How this clamour was raised, and how it 
Has supported, was manifest; the motives of it were apparent. 

P Iu vain had the Catholics (individually) endeavoured to resist 
the torrent. Their future efforts, as individuals, would be equally 
vain and fruitless : they must then oppose it collectively. 

"There was another reason why they should come forward as 
a distinct class — a reason which he confessed had made the 
greatest impression upon his feelings. Not content with falsely 
asserting that the Catholics favoured the extinction of Ireland, 
Ibis, their supposed inclination, was attributed to the foulest 
motives — motives which were most repugnant to their judgments, 
and most abhorrent to their hearts; it was said that the Catholics 
were ready to sell their country for a price, or what was still more 
depraved, to abandon it on account of the unfortunate animosities 
which the wretched temper of the times had produced; — can they 
remain silent under so horrible a calumny '] This calumny was 
flung on the whole body ; it was incumbent on the whole body to 
come forward and contradict it. Yes, they will show every friend 
of Ireland that the Catholics are incapable of selling their 
councry ; they will loudly declare that if their emancipation was 
offered for their consent to the measure, even were emancipation 
after the Union a benefit, they would reject it with prompt indig- 
nation. ( This sentiment met with approbation.) Let us," said lie, 
"show to Ireland that we have nothing in view but her good, 
nothing in our hearts but the desire of mutual forgiveness, mutual 
toleratiun, and mutual affection; in fine, let every man who feels 



with me proclaim, that if the alternative were offered him of 
Union, or the re-enactment of the Penal Code in all its pristine 
horrors, that he would prefer without hesitation the latter, as the 
lesser and more sufferable evil; that he would rather confide in 
the justice of his brethren the Protestants of Ireland, who have 
already liberated him, than lay his country at the feet of foreigners. 
(Tim sentiment met with much and marked approbation.) With 
regard to the Union, so much had been said — so much had been 
written — on the subject, that it was impossible that any man 
should not before now have formed an opinion on it. He would 
not trespass on their attention in repeating arguments which they 
had already heard, and topics which they had already considered. 
But if there was any man present who could be so far mentally 
degraded as to consent to the extinction of the liberty, the constitu- 
tion, and even the name of Ireland, he would call on him not to 
leave the direction and management of his commerce and pro- 
perty to strangers, over whom he could have no control." 

The following resolutions were then proposed and passed 
unanimously : — ■ 

" Royal Exchange, Dublin, January 13th, 1800. 
"At a numerous and respectable meeting of the Eoman Catho- 
lics of the city of Dublin, convened pursuant to public notice, 
Ambrose Moore, Esq., in the chair — 

" Eesolved — ' That we are of opinion that the proposed incor- 
porate union of the legislature of Great Britain and Ireland is, in 
fact, an extinction of the liberty of this country, which would be 
reduced to the abject condition of a province, surrendered to the 
mercy of the minister and legislature of another country, to be 
bound by their absolute will, and taxed at their pleasure by laws, 
in the making of which this country would have no efficient par- 
ticipation whatsoever.' 

" Resolved— ' That we are of opinion that the improvement of 
Ireland for the last twenty years, so rapid beyond example, is to 



be ascribed wholly to the independency of our legislature, so 
gloriously asserted in the year 1782, by virtue of our Parliament 
co-operating with the generous recommendation of our most 
gracious and benevolent sovereign, and backed by the spirit of 
our people, and so solemnly ratified by both kingdoms as the only 
true and permanent foundation of Irish prosperity and British 

11 Resolved — ' That we are of opinion, that if that independency 
should ever be surrendered, we must as rapidly relapse into our 
former depression and misery ; and that Ireland must inevitably 
lose, with her liberty, all that she has acquired in wealth, and 
industry, and civilisation.' 

u Resolved — ' That we are firmly convinced, that the supposed 
advantages of such a surrender are unreal and delusive, and can 
never arise in fact: and that even if they should arise, they would 
be only the bounty of the master to the slave, held by his cour- 
tesy, and resumable at his pleasure/ 

" Resolved — ' That, having heretofore determined not to come 
forward any more in the distinct character of Catholics, but to 
consider our claims and our cause not as those of a sect, but as 
involved in the general fate of our country — we now think it right, 
notwithstanding such determination, to publish the present reso- 
lutions, in order to undeceive our fellow-subjects who may have 
been led to believe, by a false representation, that we are capable of 
giving any concurrence whatsoever to so foul and fatal a project; 
to assure them we are incapable of sacrificing our common coun- 
tiy to either pique or pretension; and that we are of opinion, 
that this deadly attack upon the nation is the great call of nature, 
of country, and posterity upon Irishmen of all descriptions and 
persuasions, to every constitutional and legal resistance ; and 
that we sacredly pledge ourselves to persevere in obedience to 
that call as long as we have life.' 

" Signed, by order, James Ryan, ^ec.'' 

How little O'Cormell could have anticipated his future 


wlieij he expressed so ardent a hope that this occasion 
micvht ])o the last, as well as the first, on which Catholics 
should come forward publicly as a body! How little he 
anticipated the thousand times on which his thrilling 
words should arouse the slumbering soul of the Irish celt, 
and animate him to new efforts for his religion and his 
nationality ! How little he anticipated that his voice 
should one day rouse British statesmen to consider the 
past and present wrongs of Ireland, and obtain from the 
manly justice of the noble-minded amongst them, or from 
the cringing fear of the base, the rights which had been 
bo long asked and so long denied. 

With a liberality beyond the age, he declared himself 
ready to confide in the justice of Irish Protestants rather 
than in the doubtful mercies of English rulers. 

It would be well, indeed, that those who accuse O'Con- 
nell of exceptional bitterness in his way of speaking when 
English rule was in question, should remember his early 
life — should remember that he witnessed all the horrors of 
the rebellion, that he had personal experience of all the 
treachery of Government. 7 He was precisely at the age 

7 An important instance of how the memory or tradition of past 
wrongs excites men to seize the first opportunity of revenge, if not of 
redress, has occurred in our own times. It is a circumstance which 
should be very carefully pondered by statesmen who have the real 
interest of the whole nation at heart. It is a circumstance, as a sample 
of many other similar cases, which should be known to every English- 
man who wishes to understand the cause of " Irish disturbances." " One 


when such impressions would be taken most vividly — 
would be stereotyped upou the memory most indelibly. 
If he spoke at times in rude language, and told plain 
truths in the plainest words, it was because he had wit- 

of the men who was shot by the police during the late Fenian outbreak 
in Ireland, was a respectable fanner named Peter Crowley. His history 
tells the motive for which he risked and lost his life. His grandfather 
had been outlawed in the rebellion of '98. His uncle, Father Peter 
O'Neill, had been imprisoned and flogged most barbarously with circitm- 
stanos of peculiar cruelty ', in Cork, in the year 1798. The memory of 
the insult and injury done to a priest, who was entirely guiltless of the 
crimes with which he was charged, left a legacy of bitterness and hatred 
of Saxon rule in the whole family, which, unhappily, religion failed to 
eradicate. Peter Crowley was a sober, industrious, steady man, and his 
parish priest, who attended his deathbed, pronounced his end 4 most 
happy and edifying/ Three clergymen and a procession of young men, 
women, and children, scattering ilowers before the coffin, and bearing 
green boughs, attended his remains to the grave. He was mourned as 
a patriot, who had loved his country, not wisely, but too well ; and it 
was believed that his motive for joining the Fenian ranks was less from 
a desire of revenge, which would have been sinful, than from a mis- 
taken idea of freeing liis country from a repetition of the cruelties of 
'93, and from her present grievances." 

Arthur Young had, several years previously, made the following 
sensible observations on the probable eifects of the Union : — 

k< In conversation upon the subject of a Union with Great Britain, I 
was informed that nothing was so unpopular in Ireland as such an idea, 
and that the great objection to it was increasing the number of absen- 
tees. When it was in agitation, twenty peers and sixty commoners 
were talked of to sit in the British Parliament, which would be the 
residence of eighty of the best estates in England. Going every year to 
England would by degrees make them residents ; they would educate 
their children there, and in time would become mere absentees; be- 
coming so, they would be unpopular : and others would be elected who, 
treading in the same steps, would yield the places still to others." 



Etefsed cruel deeds, for which no apology was or could 
be made. 

O'Connell's personal appearance at this time has been 
described somewhat invidiously by Sir Jonah Barringtoiij 
but the likeness given of him at the head of the following 
chapter shows that his appearance must have been singu- 
larly pleasing. 

The bright, kindly, blue eyes flashed w T ith intelligence 
and that dash of humour which seems inherent to the 
Irish character. His action was gentle, but sufficiently 
marked. His form was strong and muscular, but devoid 
of that portliness which gave dignity to his later years. 
The features were clearly cut and tolerably regular. It was 
not a handsome face, but it was a kindly one, and scarcely 
told all the power of mind that lay hidden within. 

However he may have disliked Pitt as a politician, he 
admired him as an elocutionist. Already O'Connell had 
so far anticipated his future career, as to take special pains 
with his address in public, but only with a view to success 
at the bar. He did not, he could not, have anticipated 
how his voice would roll thunder tones at historic Clontan 
and Muldaghmast. 

O'Connell spoke thus of Grattan to Mr Daunt:— 

" Pitt," he said, " had a grand majestic march of language, and 
a full melodious voice. Grattan's eloquence was full of fire, but 
had not the melody or dignity of Pitt's ; yet nobody quoted Pitt's 
sayings, whereas, Grattan was always saying things that every- 
body quoted and remembered. * I did not,' " said Mr O'Connell, 



'"hear Grattan make any of his famous speeches; but I have 
heard him in public. He had great power, and great oddity — he 
almost swept the ground with his odd action.' 

H His conversation contained much humour of a dry antithetical 
kind : and lie never relaxed a muscle, whilst his hearers were con- 
vulsed with laughter. He abounded witli anecdotes of the men 
with whom he politically acted, and told them very well I met 
him at dinner at the house of an uncle of O'Conor Don, and the 
conversation turned on Lord Kingsborough, grandfather to the 
■resent Earl of Kingston, a very strange being, who married at 
sixteen a cou-in of his own, aged fifteen — used to dress like a 
roundhead of Cromwell's time, kept his hair close shorn, and 
wore a plain coat without a collar. Grattan said of this oddity, 
'He was the strangest compound of incongruities I ever knew; 
he combined the greatest personal independence with the most 
crouching political servility to ministers ; he was the most religi- 
ous man, and the most profligate ; he systematically read every 
day a portion of the Bible, and marked his place in the sacred 
volume with an obscene ballad.' 

M 1 1 dare say,' said Mr O'Connell, after a pause, 'that Grattan 
told O'Conor to ask me to dinner. I was then beginning to be 
talked of, and people like to see a young person who acquires 
notoriety.' " 

O'Connell had a very high opinion of Grattan's son. 
One day, in pointing him out to an English friend, he 
said — 

M That is Henry Grattan, son of the great Irish patriot. He 
inherits all his father's devotion to Ireland. If you presented a 
pistol at his head, and if he were persuaded his own immediate 
death would secure the Kepeal of the Union, he would say, ' In 
the name of heaven, fire away I'" 

The speech was certainly characteristic of the man who 
made it. 


Speaking of Pitt, O'Connell observed— 

" Be struck me as having the most majestic flow of language 
and the finest voice imaginable. He managed his voice admir- 
ably. It was from him I learned to throw out the lower tones 
at the close of my sentences. Most men either let their voice 
fall at the end of their sentences, or else force it into a shout or 
screech. This is because they end with the upper instead of the 
lower notes. Pitt knew better. He threw his voice so completely 
round the House, that every syllable he uttered was distinctly 
heard by every man in the House." 

Mr Daunt inquired if he had heard Fox in the same 

debate. He replied- — 

" Yes, and he spoke delightfully ; his speech was better than 
Pitt's. The forte of Pitt as an orator was majestic declamation, 
and an inimitable felicity of praise. The word he used was 
always the very best word that could be got to express his idea. 
The only man I ever knew who approached Pitt in this particular 
excellence, was Charles Kendal Bushe, whose phrases were always 
admirably happy." 8 

O'Connell expressed himself very strongly on the subject 
of the Union in the Report of the Repeal Association, April 

8 O'Connell had a great dislike to being shown as a " lion/' at public 
private dinners. On such occasions he rarely spoke. Mr Daunt 
say?—" I was once at a dinner party in Dublin, when our host proposed 
O'Connell' s health in a complimentary speech, which he ended by say- 
ing that he abstained from warmer eulogy through fear of wounding the 
modesty of his distinguished guest. O'Connell rose to return thanks, 
and commenced his speech by saying : — 4 My friend has alluded to my 
modesty. Whatever my original amount of that quality may have been, 
I certainly have never worn any of it out by too frequent use ; so that 
I have the whole original stock quite ready for service on the present 


1840. This record of his impressions after the lapse of 
forty years is valuable and important : — 

" The second means for carrying the Union were—' the depri- 
vation of all legal protection to liberty or life — the familiar use of 
torture — the trials by courts-martial — the forcible suppression of 
public meetings — the total stifling of public opinion — and the use 
of armed violence.' 

u All the time the Union was under discussion, the Habeas 
Corpus Act was suspended — no man could call one hour's 
liberty his own. 

'•All the time the Union was under discussion, COURTS-MARTIAL 
had power unlimited over life and limb. Bound by no definite 
form or charge, nor by any rule of evidence, the COURTS-MARTIAL 
threatened with DEATH those who should dare to resist the spoli- 
ation of their birthrights. 

"There was no redress for the most cruel and tyrannical im- 
prisonment. The persons of the kings Irish subjects were at the 
aq/ricc of the kings ministers. The lives of the king's Irish subjects 
were at the sport and whim of the boys, young and old, of the motley 
corps of English militia, Welsh mountaineers, Scotch fcncibles, and 
ttish yeomanry. At such a moment as that, when the gaols were 
crammed with unaccused victims, and the scaffolds were reeking with 
the blood of untried wretches — at such a moment as that, was it, 
that the British minister committed this act of SPOLIATION and 
Robbery, which enriched England but little, and made Ireland 
poor indeed. 

" Besides the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, and the 
consequent insecurity to personal liberty — besides the existence of 
courts-martial, and the consequent insecurity of human life ; be- 
sides all these, actual force was used — meetings of counties, duly 
convened to deliberate on the measure, were dispersed by military 
force. It was not at Maryborough or Clonmel alone that the 
military were called out — horse, foot, and artillery — to scatter, and 
they did scatter, meetings convened by the legal authorities to 


expostulate, to petition against the Union. Force was a peculiar 
instrument to suppress all constitutional opposition. 

" Why should we dwell longer on this part of the subject, when 
in a single paragraph we have, in eloquent language, a masterly 
description, which easily supersedes any attempt of ours ? Here 
are the words of Plunket— ' I will be bold to say, that licentious 
and impious France, in all the unrestrained excesses that anarchy 
and atheism have given birth to, has not committed a more insi- 
dious act against her enemy, than is now attempted by the pro- 
fessed champion of civilised Europe against Ireland — a friend and 
ally — in the hour of her calamity and distress. At a moment 
when our country is filled with British troops — whilst the Habeas 
Corpus Act is suspended — whilst trials by courts-martial are carry, 
ing on in many parts of the kingdom — while the people are made 
to believe that they have no right to meet and deliberate, and 
whilst the people are palsied by theh? fears — at the moment when 
w« are distracted by internal dissensions, dissensions kept alive 
a?r the pretext of our present subjugation, and the instrument of 
one future thraldom, — such is the time in which the Union is 
pT'oposed.' " 

0' Council was in great personal danger at this period 
on more than one occasion. While doing duty in the 
Volunteer corps, he was posted as a sentry near one of the 
canal bridges, and was ordered by his officer to fire on some 
unarmed country people who were passing at the other side 
of the canal after the hour at which martial law permitted 
persons to be about. He positively refused to perform this 
act of wanton cruelty, and in consequence was in danger of 
being himself the victim. On another occasion he was one 
of a party who had orders to search a hotel in James's 
Street, for suspected parties who were thought to have 



■rrived there by the canal boat; he had singly to oppose 
the wanton and licentious violence of his comrades, wh<i 
sought to drag an inoffensive stranger and his wife from 
their beds. His son observes : — 

* His experience in these sad times has left an indelible im- 
pression upon him of the danger of entrusting civilians with 
arms ; the tendency, in his own words, that a man has, ' when be 
has arms in his hands, to be a ruffian.' being uncontrolled by that 
custom of bearing them under strict restraints and practices of 
long discipline, which makes the soldier patient and forbearing. 
The * lawyers' infantry* were, of course, composed of gentlemen. 
The education for the arduous profession of the bar should, one 
would have thought, have tended to refine the mind, and teach 
restraint over the brute impulses ; and yet, among some, there 
was a spirit of licence and outrage prevailing, that the most reck 
less and disordered soldiery could scarcely equal." 

He was in danger again in trying to save the life of a 
defenceless man from a member of the attorneys' corps, who 
was trying to cut him down simp'y because he was alone and 
helpless. O'Connell received the sword cut on the barrel 
of his musket, and the deep indentation which it made 
proved how fatal the blow would have been if it had been 
received by the person for whom it was intended. 

Mr Wagget, afterwards Recorder of Cork, was O'Con- 
nelFs sergeant, and, happily for him, happened to come up 
at the moment. A few words explained matters, and he 
at once look O'Connell's part, but he only got rid of the 
attorney by charging him with his halbert. 

The Union passed, and the Catholics were not einanci- 




paled. The state of the country was alarming. The har- 
vest. Lad failed in the autumn of 1799, yet Mr Pitt would 
not allow any corn to be exported to Ireland, until Lord 
Cornwallis had made the most urgent representations on 
the subject. He wrote to Major-General Ross, stating, 
<k that every Catholic of influence was in danger." On the 
22d November 1799, he wrote to the Duke of Portland — 

" I most earnestly hope that your Grace and His Majesty's 
other confidential servants will see this matter in the same light 
with me, and that you will allow the Roman Catholic peers to 
vote for the representatives of the peerage, on their taking the 
same oaths that are required from the electors of their communion 
when they give their votes for members of the House of Commons. 
I have had a most difficult line to pursue, but amidst the violence 
of factions and religious prejudices, I have gone steadily to my 
point, and I think I may now venture to say that 1 have, in a 
great measure, gained the confidence and good- will of the Catho- 
lics without losing the Protestants. But if the former see cause 
to believe that 1 am disposed to adopt the ancient system, or that 
I am a man of straw, without weight or consideration, things will 
soon revert to their former course, and I shall, perhaps, be the 
most improper man to hold my present station." 

On the 28th November, Lord Castlereagh wrote to the 

Duke of Portland-— 

" Your Grace and Mr Pitt will, I trust, both have an oppor- 
tunity of satisfying Lord Clare's feelings in respect to the line 
hereafter to be pursued towards the Catholics before he leave* 
London. Of course, no further hopes will be held forth to that 
body by the Irish Government without specific directions from your 
Grace, and I fairly confess I entertain very great doubts whether 
any more distinct explanation than has already been given would 



at present be politically advantageous; it is enough to feel assured 
that we are not suffering them to form expectations which must 
afterwards be disappointed, under the disadvantage of having 
dexterity, if not duplicity, imputed to Government in the con- 
duct of the measure." 

No " further hopes" were held out because the work was 
done; but, undoubtedly, both " dexterity " and " dupli- 
city " were attributed with every reason to the English 
Government. Ministers were perfectly well aware that they 
had acted with " duplicity," but they found a convenient 
excuse — the king, they said, would not hear of emancipa- 
tion. This was quite true ; but the king was honest as well 
as obstructive, and at least spoke out, and declared that he 
had not been a party to the promise. 9 

•"The King to the Right Hon. Henry Dcndas. 

" Windsor, February 7t/i, 1801. 
* I cannot but regret that on the late unhappy occasion I had not 
been treated with more confidence previous to forming an opinion, 
which, to my greatest surprise, I learnt on Thursday from Earl Spencer, 
has been in agitation ever since Lord Castlereagh came over in August, 
yet of which I never had the smallest suspicion till within these very 
weeks ; but so desirous was I to avoid the present conclusion, that, 
except what passed with Earl Spencer and Lord Grenville, about three 
weeks past, and a hint I gave to Mr Secretary Dundas on Wednesday 
•BVOmight, I have been silent on the subject, and, indeed, hoping that 
Mr Pitt had not pledged himself on what I cannot with my sentiments 
of religious and political duty think myself at liberty to concur. Mr 
Secretary Dundas has known my opinions when he corresponded with 
the Earl of Westmoreland, then Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, and at 
least will do me the justice to recollect that both then, and when after- 
wards brought forward by the Earl Fitzwilliam, my language perfectly 
coincided with my present conduct. George It." 



Lord Castlereagh wrote a " most private " letter to the 
Rig-Li Honourable William Pitt, on the 1st of January 
1801, in which he puts the whole state of the case into the 
plainest possible language, in which he showed how abso- 
lutely necessary the assistance of the Catholic body was in 
order to carry the Union, and how he had been ordered to draw 
the Catholics on. The object was gained, and if there 
was not another document in existence besides this letter 
to show how shamefully the Catholics were duped, it would 
be more than sufficient. 

At last, and with considerable difficulty, the upper class 
of Catholics were made to understand how they had been 
treated. It might have been supposed that they had 
learned a life-long lesson, but there are persons on whom 
experience is wasted. 

Mr Pitt tried to save his character by resigning, being 
fully aware that he would be at once recalled to office, 
having already intimated that he would not " press the 
measure " under the present circumstances. 1 The Catholics 

1 Lord Castlereagh sent the following letter of instruction from Lon- 
don, July 9, 1801, to Lord Cornwallis :— 

" Mr Pitt will take the first opportunity of the question being regu- 
larly before the House to state his opinion at length upon it, but ho 
does not think that it will be expedient either with reference to the 
success of the question itself, or the predicament in which the King 
stands, for him to press the measure under the present circumstances. 
The inclination of his mind, after having argued the question, is, not to 
vote at all. He is of opinion that to try the question now, would only 
pledge people against it j that we should have no chance of success iu 



were to be " made to feel 99 tliat there were obstacles, or 
rather that tliere was one obstacle which the King's min- 
isters could not surmount, and the King's ministers sup- 
posed, or believed, or hoped, that the Catholics would have 
the good sense to "see that it was their duty to be thank- 
ful for what was intended to be done for them; and also, 
and beyond all, that they would not be so inconsiderate 
as to annoy or embarrass Government in any way under the 

O'Connell joined the Freemasons in 1779. He was not 
aware that it was against. Catholic principles for him to do 
so, and has given the following account of the matter him- 
self :— 

4 'I was a Freemason and master of a Lodge : it was at a very 

the Lords, and that if we carried it through both Houses, the King 
would at all risks refuse his assent. But a still stronger reason operates 
in his mind for not so pressing it, which he particularly desires that T 
may represent to your Excellency— namely, the conviction that were the 
question so carried it would be deprived of all its benefits. Under these 
considerations, it is his wish that your Excellency, without bringing fur- 
ward the King's name, should make the Catholics feel that an obstaclo 
which the King 'a ministers could not surmount, precluded them from 
kinging forward the measure whilst in ottice ; that their attachment to 
the question was such that they felt it impossible to continue in admini- 
stration under the impossibility of proposing it with the necessary con- 
currence, and that they retired from the King's service, considering this 
line of conduct as most likely to contribute to the ultimate success of 
the measure ; to represent to them how much their future hopes must 
depend upon strengthening their cause by good conduct ; in the mean- 
time, that they ought to weigh their prospects as arising from the per- 
sons who now espouse their interests, and compare them with thoso 



early period of my life, and either before an ecclesiastical censure 
had been published in the Catholic Church in Ireland prohibiting 
the taking of the Masonic oaths, or at least before I was aware of 
that censure. Freemasonry in Ireland." adds O'Connell, " may be 
said to have, (apart from its oaths) no evil tendency, save as far 
as it may counteract the exertions of those most laudable and 
useful institutions, the temperance societies. The important ob- 
jection is the profane taking in vain the awful name of the Deity 
in the wanton and multiplied oaths — oaths administered on the 
book of God — without any adequate motive." 

O'ConnelPs movements have not been very accurately 
recorded during the early part of his life, but it would appear 
that he visited Darrynane immediately after the passing of 
the Union, as he has recorded his impressions while travel* 

which they could look to from any other quarter They must dis- 
tinctly understand that he could not concur in a hopeless attempt at 
this moment to force it, and that he must at all times repress, with the 
same decision as if he held an adverse opinion, any unconstitutional 
conduct in the Catholic body. This will give your Excellency the out- 
line of that communication which he thinks himself alone authorised 
to make to them. To look to any specific time to which they might 
attach their hopes, is so indefinite and so delicate a consideration as 
your Excellency will feel is scarcely to be touched upon. From what 
has already passed, the prospect of a change of sentiment on the part of 
the King seems too hopeless to be held out in promise to the Catholics 
as any ground of hope, and his death is that solution of the difficulty 
which all parties must equally deprecate. The prospect is, therefore, not 
very encouraging in itself, yet, unpromising as it is, we must endeavour 
to make them feel that their particular interests, as well as their duty, 
will he best consulted rather by a temperate and loyal conduct than by 
giving way to those feelings connected with disappointment and despair. 
Such are the principles we must practise, and I wish it were reason- 
able to expect that they would be implicitly acted upon."— Cornwall* 
Correspondence, vol. iii. p. 335. 



ling among the wild mountainous districts between Kenmare 

and Killarney — 

" The year of the Union I was travelling through the mountain 
district from Killarney to Kenmare — my heart was heavy at the 
loss that Ireland had sustained, and the day was wild and gloomy. 
That desert district, too, was congenial to impressions of solemnity 
and sadness. There was not a human habitation to be seen for 
many miles ; black, giant clouds sailed slowly through the sky, 
and rested on the tops of the huge mountains ; my soul felt dreary, 
and I had many wild and Ossianic inspirations as I traversed the 
bleak solitudes. 

" It was the Union that first stirred me up to come forward in 
politics. My uncle Maurice was scarcely pleased at my taking a 
public part ; not that he approved of the Union, but politics ap- 
peared to him to be fraught with great peril." 

O'Connell got some lessons in prudence during this event- 
ful period which served him well in his after life. Young 
men, who only knew traditionally of the terrible scenes in 
which he had been a personal actor, reproached him with 
cowardice, but a coward he never was. His friend, Mr 
Daunt, has faithfully recorded his own reasons for pru- 
dence — 

" I learned from the example of the United Irishmen the lesson, 
that in order to succeed for Ireland, it was strictly necessary to 
work within the limits of the law and constitution. I saw that 
fraternities, banded illegally, never could be safe ; that invariably 
some person without principle would be sure to gain admission 
into such societies ; and either for ordinary bribes, or else in times 
of danger for their own preservation, would betray their associates. 
Yes ; the United Irishmen taught me that all work for Ireland 
must be done openly and above-board." 



We find O'Cormell in Dublin again in the winter of 1801, 
and dining with a party of Freemasons at their tavern in 
Golden Lane. As he returned home there was a cry of 
fire, then a cry for water to stop the devouring flames. 
O'Connell seized a pick-axe from an incompetent labourer, 
and continued working with a will. The excitement and 
the potations in which he had indulged at the Freemasons' 
banquet were too much for his head. He worked on, re- 
gardless of threats or entreaties, and would soon have had . 
the whole pavement ripped up, had a soldier not run a 
bayonet at him. This pointed argument had its effect, but 
it would have terminated O'Connell's career abruptly, 
only for the cover of his hunting-watch which he happened 
to wear. " If it had not been for the watch," O'Connell 
used to say, when relating this adventure, " there would 
have been an end of the agitator." 

O'Conneirs extraordinary talents were soon recognised, 
and, though the pitiful illiberal ity of the times would not 
allow a Catholic a silk gown, he could not complain of 
public neglect. One or two of his amusing and successful 
cross-examinations got talked about, and his professional 
fortune was made— 

" O'Connell's cross-examination consisted of a series of attacks 
and retreats, which gradually clouded the minds of the judge and 
jury with serious doubts as to the witness's credibility, and this 
even when the witness was veracious. As a necessary conse- 
quence, he became the favourite lawyer in the criminal court of 
the Munster circuit, and often rescued the victim o e agrarian 



oppression from the fangs of law and the ignominy of the 

" O'Connell, on one occasion, was engaged in a will case. It 
was the allegation of the plaintiffs that the will, by which con- 
lidcrable property had been devised, was a forgery. The sub- 
scribing witnesses swore that the will had been signed by the 
deceased while 'life was in him' — a mode of expression derived 
from the Irish language, and which peasants who have ceased to 
speak Irish still retain. The evidence was altogether in favour 
of the will, and the defendants had every reason to calculate on 
success, when O'Connell undertook to cross-examine one of the 
witnesses. He was struck by the persistency of this man, who, in 
reply to his questions, never deviated from the formula, 1 the life 
was in him.' 

" ' On the virtue of your oath, was he alive V 

" ' By the virtue of my oath, the life was in him,' repeated the 

M 1 Now I call on you in the presence of your Maker, who will 
one day pass sentence on you for this evidence ; I solemnly ask 
— and answer me at your peril — was there not a live fly in the 
dead man's mouth when his hand was placed on the will/ 

"The witness was palsied by this question; he trembled, 
shivered, and turned pale, and faltered out an abject confession 
that the counsellor was right — a fly had been introduced into the 
mouth of the deceased to enable the witnesses to swear that life 
was in him ! " 1 

There were some curious scenes in the law courts at the 
commencement of the present century. Men were not 
unfrequently sentenced to death with a joke, 8 and were 

2 Fagin's Life of O'Connell. 

8 ""What is your ca 1 ling or occupation, my honest man ?" said Lord 
Norbury to a witness. " Please your lordship, I keep a racket court" 
" So do 7," rejoined Lord Norbury, chuckling in exulting allusion to the 



hung for the merest suspicion. It was little wonder that 
O'Connell's skill in cross-examination made him the 
favourite of the multitude. To have O'Connell for counsel 
was, in the majority of cases, to secure a verdict for his 


Lord Norbury threw aside every attempt at decency in 
his judicial career. He was the descendant of a Cromwel- 
lian soldier, and had managed, by considerable talent, not 
of the highest order, to seat himself on the bench. 

CTConnell has described him thus : — 

" He had a considerable parrot-sort of knowledge of law — he 
had upon his memory an enormous number of cases, but he did 
not understand, nor was he capable of understanding, a single 
principle of law. To be sure, his charges were the strangest effu- 
sions. When charging the jury in the action brought by Guthrie 
versus Sterne, to recover damages for criminal conversation with 
the plaintiff's wife, Norbury said — ' Gentlemen of the jury, The 
defendant in this case is Henry William Godfrey Baker Sterne — 
and there, gentlemen, you have him from stem to Sterne. I am 
free to observe, gentlemen, that if this Mr Henry William God- 
frey Baker Sterne had as many Christian virtues as he has Chris- 
tian names, we never should see the honest gentleman figuring 
here as defendant in an action for crim. con.' " 

noise, uproar, and racket which his witticisms constantly awakened in 

"When they were burying Norbury," added O'Connell, "the grave 
was so deep that the ropes by which they were letting down the coffin 
did not reach to the bottom. The coffin remained hanging at mid-depth 
while somebody was sent for more rope. 'Ay,' cried a butcher's ap- 
prentice, ' give him rope enough. It would be a pity to stint him. It '» 
himself never grudged a poor man the rope V " 



O'Connell was always ready to help his legal brethren. 
For the judges, he cared very little. His popularity was 
already established on the permanent basis of success, and 
they could do him little harm. On one occasion, when a 
young barrister, named Hartley, rose to make his first 
motion, he was constantly and rudely interrupted by Judge 
Johnson, his learned brother, Lord Norbury, joining in the 
ill-natured interruptions with his usual zest. 

The young barrister at last became hopelessly confused. 
At this moment O'Connell entered the court, ascertained 
what was going on, urgently entreated some of the older 
members of the bar to interfere, but they were all unwilling. 
Lord Norbury was not a person to be bearded with im- 
punity. O'Connell no longer hesitated ; whether in a war of 
words or swords he was equally ready to throw himself 
between the oppressor and the oppressed, without a thought 
of self. He addressed the bench fearlessly — 

" My lords, I respectfully submit that Mr Martley has a perfect 
title to a full hearing. He has a duty to discharge to his client, 
and should not, 1 submit, be impeded in the discharge of that duty 
Mr Martley is not personally known to me, but I cannot sit here 
in silence while a brother-barrister is treated* so discourteously." 
" Oh ! Mr O'Connell, we have heard Mr Martley," said Lord 
Norbury, " and we cannot allow the time of the court to be 
further wasted." — " Pardon me, my lord, you have not heard him. 
The young gentleman has not been allowed to explain his case — 
an explanation which, I am quite sure, he is capable of giving if 
your lordships will afford him the opportunity." — " Mr O'Con- 
nell," said Judge Johnson, with an air of great pompositv, " aro 



you engaged in this case that you thus presume to interfere ? w 
— " My lord, I am not ; I merely rise to defend the privileges of 
the bar, and I will not permit them to be violated either in my 
own, or the person of any other member of the profession." 
" Well, well ; well, well," interposed Lord Norbury, " we '11 hear 
Mr Martley— we 11 hear Mr Martley. Sit down, Mr O'Connell ; 
sit down." 

Having thus carried his point, Mr O'Connell, in obedience 
to the bench, sat down ; and Mr Martley, whose gratitude to 
O'Connell was sincere and lasting, stated his case so satis- 
factorily as to obtain his motion. 

O'Connell on one occasion was engaged to defend a 
highwayman, who had committed robbery on the public 
road in the vicinity of Cork ; and, owing to the masterly 
manner in which O'Connell sifted the evidence and cross- 
examined the witnesses, the robber was acquitted. The 
following year, on returning to Cork, O'Connell saw the 
same hardened face resting on the same well-worn dock, 
grim and ruffianly, and accused of very nearly the same 
crime — burglary, accompanied by an aggravated assault, 
which was proximate to murder. The culprit, as in the 
former case, was fortunate enough to secure the services of 
O'Connell, who puzzled the witnesses, perplexed the judge, 
and bewildered the jury — owing to whose hopeless disagree- 
ment the prisoner was discharged. His industrious client, 
when restored to liberty, had no notion of sitting down in 
sluggish idleness : he stole a collier-brig, sold the cargo, 
purchased arms with the price, and cruised along the coast 


in quest of booty ; and when O'Connell returned to 
Cork he was once more in the dock charged with piracy. 
His defence was undertaken by O'Connell for the third 
time. O'Connell showed that the crime did not come 
under the cognizance of the court, as it had been perpe- 
trated on the high seas ; it came under the cognizance 
only of the Admiralty. The gratitude of the prisoner 
was warmly expressed — raising his hands and eyes to 
heaven, he exclaimed, " Oh ! may the Lord spare you to 

CT Council was counsel before Judge Day on another 
occasion, for a man who stole some goats. The fact was 
proved, whereupon O'Connell produced to Judge Day an 
old Act of Parliament, empowering the owners of corn- 
fields, gardens, or plantations, to kill and destroy all hares, 
rabbits, and goats trespassing thereon. O'Connell con- 
tended that this legal power of destruction clearly demon- 
strated that goats were not property, and thence inferred 
that the stealer of goats was not legally a thief, or punish- 
able as such. Judge Day was so unacquainted with the 
law that he charged the jury accordingly, and the prisoner 
was acquitted. 4 

But O'Connell's practice was not confined to criminal 
cases. The following case which he has left on record 

4 However deficient Judge Day may have been in forensic ability, ha 
was an excellent shot — and he knew it. O'Connell used to call Lord 
Korberry u one of Castlereagh's unprincipled janissaries. 


shows how singularly clear his mind was, and how he 
grasped a subject at once in all its bearings : — 

" I recollect I once had a client, an unlucky fellow, against 
whom a verdict had been given for a balance of £1 1 00. We were 
trying to set aside that verdict. I was young at the bar at that 
time ; my senior counsel contented themselves with abusing the 
adverse witnesses, detecting flaws in their evidence, and making 
sparkling points; in short, they made very flourishing, eloquent, 
but rather ineffective speeches. While they flourished away I got 
our client's books, and taking my place immediately under the 
judge's bench, I opened the accounts and went through them all 
from beginning to end. I got the whole drawn out by double 
entry, and got numbers for every voucher. The result plainly 
was, that so far from there being a just balance of £1100 against 
our poor devil, there actually was a balance of £700 in his favour, 
although the pooT slovenly blockhead did not know it himself. 
When my turn came, I made the facts as clear as possible to judge 
and jury ; and the jury inquired if they could not find a verdict 
of £700 in his favour. I just tell you the circumstance," continued 
O'Connell, " to show you that I kept an eye on that important 
branch of my profession." 

CJapftr Biti\. 







WRITE B of the day has 
left a most graphic account 
of O'Connell on circuity 
from which we give the fol- 
owing extracts. He describes 
limself as — 

"Sitting at the window of a village 
one evening, when he was suddenly aroused by the 

^j^p- inn 

* 'fjj/ thundering of five horses and a chariot, which soon ap- 
peared in sight. The moment they arrived at the inn the 
animals were sharply checked, the door was flung open, 
and the occupier hurriedly threw himself out. 

" ' Bring out four horses, instantly ! ; was the command 
he uttered in the loud voice of haste and authority. 

" The inmate of the carriage was about five feet eleven 
and a half inches high, and wore a portly, stout, hale, and 
agreeable appearance. His shoulders were broad, and his 



' ntly built ; and as he at that moment stood, one arm in his 
f id.' pocket, the other thrust into a waistcoat, which was almost 
completely unbuttoned from the heat of the day, he would have 
made n good figure for the rapid but fine-finishing touch of Harlowe. 
His head w.-is covered with a light fur cap, which, partly thrown 
back, displayed that breadth of forehead which I have never yet 
seen absent from real talent. His eyes appeared to me, at that 
iustant, to be between a light blue and a grey colour. His face was 
pale .nid sallow, as if the turmoil of business, the shade of care, or 
the study of midnight, had chased away the glow of health and 
youth. Around his mouth played a cast of sarcasm, which, to a 
quick eye, at once betrayed satire ; and it appeared as if the lips 
could be easily resolved into risus sardonicus. His head was 
somewhat larger than that which a modern doctrine denominates 
the 1 medium size :' and it was well supported by a stout and well- 
fcundationed pedestal, which was based on a breast — full, round, 
prominent, and capacious. 

; ' He was dressed in an olive-brown surtout, black trousers, and 
black waistcoat. His cravat was carelessly tied — the knot almost 
undone from the heat of the day; and as he stood with his hand 
across his bosom, and his eyes bent on the ground, he was the very 
picture of a public character hurrying away on some important 
matter which required all of personal exertion and mental energy. 
Often as I have seen him since, I have never beheld him in so 
Striking or pictorial an attitude. 

" 1 Quick with the horses !' was his hurried ejaculation, as he re- 
covered himself from his reverie and flung himself into his carriage. 
The whip was cracked, and away went the chariot with the same 
cloud of dust and the same tremendous pace. 

'* I did not see him pay any money. He did not enter the inn. 
He called for no refreshment, nor did he utter a word to any person 
around him : he seemed to be obeyed by instinct. And while I 
marked the chariot thundering along the street, which had all its 


then spectators turned on the cloud-enveloped vehicle, my curiosity 
was intensely excited, and I instantly descended to learn the name 
of this extraordinary stranger. 

"Most malapropos, however, were my inquiries. Unfortunately 
the landlord was out, the waiter could not tell his name, and the 
hostler 4 knew nothing whatsoindever of him, oney lie was in the 
nii;t on commonest hurry.' A short time, however, satisfied my 
curiosity. The next day brought me to the capital of the county. 
Jt was the assize time. Very fond of oratory, I went to the court- 
house to hear the forensic eloquence of the * home circuit.' I had 
scarcely seated myself when the same greyish eye, broad forehead, 
portly ligure, and strong tone of voice arrested my attention. He 
was just on the moment of addressing the jury, and I anxiously 
waited to hear the speech of a man who had already so strongly 
interested me. After looking at the judge steadily for a moment, 
he began his speech exactly in the following pronunciation — ' My 
Lurid. — Gentlemen of the jury.' 

" 1 Who speaks ) 1 instantly whispered I. 

u 1 Counsellor O'Connell,' was the reply. 

"Counsel in a case in which his client was capitally charged. 
O'Connell undertook the defence, although the attorney considered 
the chances as utterly hopeless. O'Connell knew it was useless to 
attempt a defence in the ordinary way, the evidence being more than 
sufficient to insure a conviction. Serjeant Lefroy, then very young, 
happened to preside, in the absence of one of the judges who had 
fallen ill. Knowing the character of the judge. O'Connell put a 
number of illegal questions to the witness, which, the crown prose- 
cutor immediately objected to. The learned sergeant decided rather 
peremptorily that he could not allow Mr O'Connell to proceed with 
his line of examination. 1 As you refuse me permission to defend 
my client, I leave his fate in your hands/ said O'Connell — ' his 
blood will be on your head if he be condemned." O'Connell flung 
out of the court in apparent displeasure, and paced up and down on 
the flagway outside for half-an-hour. At the end of this time he saw 


the attorney for the defence rushing out in a great hurry without his 
liil. ' He 's acquitted ! he 's acquitted ! ' exclaimed the attorney, in 
breathless haste and joyous exultation. O'Connell smiled with a 
peculiar expression at the success of his stratagem — for such it was. 
He knew that a judge so young as Lefroy must naturally shrink in 
horror from the terrible responsibility of destroying human life. He 
therefore flung the onus upon the judge, who, in the absence of 
O'Connell, took up the case, and became unconsciously the advocate 
of the prisoner. He conceived a prejudice in favour of the accused, 
cross examined the witnesses, and finally charged the jury in the 
prisoner's favour. The consequence was the complete and unexpected 
acquittal of the accused. 'My only chance,' said O'Connell, 4 was 
to throw the responsibility on the judge, who had a natural timidity 
of incurring a responsibility so serious. '" 

If O'Connell was the hope of clients, he was certainly 
the terror of judges. It was useless to attempt to put a 
man down who, in nine cases out of ten, knew more law 
than they did, and whose assurance, right or wrong, waa 
illimitable. It w r as scarcely wise to provoke an encounter. 
He was fond of relating anecdotes of his bar life, and as 
they were all full of interest, and generally full of wit and 
humour, his friends were never weary of listening to him. 
Fortunately their authenticity, even in detail, has been 
secured by the faithful record made of them from day to 
day, by the gentleman who for many years accompanied 
him in his journeys. 

Before referring to O'ConnelPs political life, we give a 
few more of these reminiscences : — 

" On one occasion, O'Connell was asked by Mr Daunt, if the Irish 
bar had not a higher reputation for wit in the last century than 



the present ? He said they had now no such wit as Curran ; 
but that other members of the bar participated in a great degree in 
the laughter-stirring quality. 1 Holmes/ said he, ' has a great share 

of very clever sarcasm Piunket had great wit ; he was a 

creature jf exquisite genius. Nothing could be happier than his 
hit in reply to Lord Pedesdale about the kites. In a speech before 
Reuesdale, Piunket had occasion to use the phrase kites very fre- 
jiieut.y, as designating fraudulent bills and promissory notes. Lord 
litdesdale, to whom the phrase was quite new, at length interrupted 
him, saving : 'I don't quite understand your meaning, Mr Piunket. 
la England, kites are paper playthings used by boys ; in Ireland 
they seem to mean some species of monetary transaction/ ' There 
is another difference, my lord,' said Piunket. 'In England, the wind 
raises the kites ; in Ireland^ the kites raise the wind' 

" Curran was once defending an attorney's bill of costs before 
Lord Clare. ' Here now,' said Clare, 1 is a flagitious imposition ; 
how can you defend this item, Mr Curran ? — " To writing innumer- 
able letters, £100."' 'Why, my lord,' said Curran, 'nothing can be 
more reasonable. It is not a penny a letter. 1 And Curran's reply 
to Judge Robinson is exquisite in its way. ' I '11 commit you, sir,' 
said the judge. ' I hope you '11 never commit a worse thing, my 
lord I 1 retorted Curran. 

M 'Wilson Croker, too/ said Mr O'Connell. 'had humour. When 
the crier wanted to expel the dwarf O'Leary, who was about three 
feet four inches high, from the jury-box in Tralee, Croker Mid, 
'Let him stay where he is — De minimis nan curat Itx" (Law cares 
not for small things). And when Tom Goold got retainers from 
both sides, 1 Keep them both/ said Croker ; 1 you may conscien- 
tiously do so. You can be counsel for one side, and of use to the 

" Speaking of Judge Day while he was yet alive, O'Connell said : 
'No man would take more pains to serve a friend ; but as a judge 
they cculd scarcely have placed a less efficient man upon the bench 
. . . . He once said to me at the Cork assizes, * Mr O'Connell 



I must not allow you to make a speech ; the fact is, I am alwayi 
of opii Lon with the last speaker, and therefore I will not let you 
si\ one word.' 'My lord/ said I, ' that is precisely the reason why 
J '11 let nobody have the last word but myself, if I can help it/ I 
had the last word, and Day charged in favour of my client. Day 
was made judge in 1798. He had been chairman of Kilmainham, 
with a salary of £1200 a-year. When he got on the bench, Bullj 
Egan got the chairmanship. 

" 4 Was Bully Egan a good lawyer V 

" ' lie was a successful one ; his bullying helped him through. 
He was a desperate duellist. One of his duels was fought with a 
Mr O'Reilly, who fired before the word was given ; the shot did 
not take effect. ' Well, at any rate, my honour is safe/ said 
O'Reilly. 'Is it so?' said Egan ; c egad, I'll take a slap at your 
honour for ad that;' and Egan deliberately held his pistol pointed 
for full five minutes at O'Reilly, whom he kept for that period in 
the agonies of mortal suspense. 

'"Did he kill himT 

" 1 Not he/ replied O'Connell ; * he couldn't hit a hay-stack. 

If courage appertained to duelling, he certainly possessed it. But 
in everything else he was the most timid man alive. Once I stated, 
in the Court of Exchequer, that I had, three days before, been in 
the room with a man in fever 120 miles off. The instant I said so, 
Egan shuffled away to the opposite side of the court through pure 
fear of infection. 

"Judge Day was a simpleton, but Judge Boyd was worse — he 
was a drunkard. 'He was so fond of brandy,' said O'Connell 
4 that he always kept a supply of it in court, upon the desk before 
him, in an ink-stand of peculiar make. His lordship used to lean 
his arm upon the desk, bob down his head and steal a hurried sip 
from time to time through a quill that lay among the pens ; which 
manoeuvre he flattered himself escaped observation. 

" One day it was sought by counsel to convict a witness of having 
been intoxicated at the period to which his evidence referred. Mr 



Harry Deane Grady laboured bard upon the other hand to show 
that the man had been sober. ' Come now, my good man/ said 
Judge Boyd, ' it is a very important consideration; tell the court 
truly, were yuu drunk or were you sober upon that occasion]' 

" 1 Oh, quite sober, my lord,' broke in Grady, with a very signifi- 
cant look at the ink-stand — ' as sober as a judge? " 

If O'CciiEcll was addicted to cajoling witnesses, he seems 
to have beeii equally happy in protecting unfledged pro- 
fessionals. We have already given one instance of his 
interference on their behalf. He happened to be in court 
when a young attorney was called upon to make an admis- 
sion which might have been injurious to his client. O'Con- 
nell at once stood up and told him to make no admission. 
Baron M" CI eland, who was trying the case, asked if Mr 
O'Connell had a brief in the case. Mr O'Connell had no 
brief, except the very general one, of an ardent desire to 
benefit the whole human race as far as it was possible for 
him to do so. He replied : — 

" I have not, my lord ; but I shall have one when the case goes 
down to the assizes." 

"When / was at the bar, it was not my habit to anticipate 

u When you were at the bar, I never chose you for a model ; and 
now that you are on the bench, I shall not submit to your dictation." 

M There was a barrister of the name of Parsons at the bar in my 
earlier practice," said O'Connell, u who had a good deal of humour. 
Parsons hated the whole tribe of attorneys ; perhaps they had not 
treated him very well — but his prejudice against them was eternally 
exhibiting itself. One day, in the hall of the Four Courts, an attor- 
ney came up to him to beg his subscription towards burying a brothei 



attorney, who had died in distressed circumstances. Parsons took 
out a pound note. ' Oh, Mr Parsons/ said the applicant, ' I do not 
want so much ; I only ask a shilling from each contributor.' £ Oh, 
take it — take it/ replied Parsons; 4 1 would most willingly subscribe 
money any day to put an attorney underground.' 'But really, Mr Par- 
Bons, I have limited myself to a shilling from each person.' For 
pity's sake, my good sir, take the pound — and bury twenty of them.' 

<k One of the most curious things I remember in my bar experi- 
ence," said O'Connell, "is Judge Foster's charging for the acquittal 
of a homicide named Denis Halligan, who was tried, with four 
others, at the Limerick assizes many years ago. Foster totally mis- 
took the evidence of the principal witness for the prosecution. The 
offence charged was aggravated manslaughter, committed on some 
poor wretch, whose name I forget. The first four prisoners were 
shown to be criminally abetting; but the fifth, Denis Halligan, wr.s 
proved to have inflicted the fatal blow. The evidence of the 
principal witness against him was given in these words: 'I saw 
Denis Halligan, my lord (he that 's in the dock there), take a 
vacancy* at the poor soul that's kilt, and give him a wipe with a 
clch-alpeen* and lay him clown as quiet as a child.' The judge 
charged against the first four prisoners, and sentenced them to seven 
years' imprisonment each ; then proceeding to the fifth, the rascal 
who really committed the homicide, he addressed him thus : ' Denis 
Halligan, I have purposely reserved the consideration of your case 
for the last. Your crime, as being a participator in the affray, is 
doubtless of a grievous nature ; yet I cannot avoid taking into 
consideration the mitigating circumstances that attend it. By the 
-evidence of the witness it clearly appears that you were the only one 
of the party who showed any mercy to the unfortunate deceased. 
\ou took him to a vacant seat, and you wiped him with a clean 
napkin, and (to use the affecting and poetic language of the witness) 
you laid him down with the gentleness one shows to a little child. 
In consideration of these circumstances, which considerably miti- 

6 Vacancy, an aim at an unguarded part. a Cleh-alpeon, a bludgeon. 



gate your offence, the only punishment I sliall inflict on you is an 
imprisonment of three weeks' duration.' So Denis Halligan got off 
by Foster's mistaking a vacancy for a vacant seat, and a cleh-alpeen 
for a clean napkin.'* 

O'Connell married in the summer of 1S02. His early 
life had not been in all respects a model of virtue, but from 
this period his habits were exemplary. In later years, he 
was not only attached to his religion theoretically, as he 
had always been, but he was also a most edifying and 
practical Catholic. 

His bride was a namesake and cousin of his own ; and 
as she was destitute of worldly goods, his uncle Maurice, 
with characteristic prudence, objected to the match ; but 
O'Connell took his own way in this as in other matters, 
and he never regretted his choice. He used to speak of her 
affectionately, and perhaps with a little of the garrulous- 
ness of age in later years. It would appear to have been 
entirely a love-match ; and the old man used to say, his 
Mary " gave him thirty-five years of the purest happiness 
that man ever enjoyed." 

His profession made him independent. During the first 
year he was at the bar, he made £58; the second yeai, 
£150 ; the third year, £200; and the fourth, about £300. 
From which time he advanced rapidly, and made as much 
as £9000 in one year. Mrs O'Connell had been educated 
in Tralee, and he used to tell the following anecdote of her 
childhood : — 

u When my wife was a little girl, she was obliged to pass, on hei 



iray to school, every day, under the arch of the gaol; and Hands, 
fche gaoler of Tralee, a most gruff, uncouth-looking fellow, always 
made her stop and curtsey to him. She despatched the curtsey 
with all imaginable expedition, and ran away to school, to get out 
of his sight as fast as possible." 

O'Connell took great delight in relating the following of 
his wife's grandmother : — 

" It was my delight to quiz the old lady, by pretending to com- 
plain of her grand-daughter's want of temper. ' Madam/ said I, 
' Mary would do very well, only she is so cross.' * Cross, sir ? My 
Mary cross 1 Sir, you must have provoked her very much ! Sir, 
you must yourself be quite in fault ! Sir, my little girl was always 
the gentlest, sweetest creature born/ " 7 

O'Connell was very fond of children, and used not un fre- 
quently to commence a conversation with them by asking 
them, if they knew that it was he who obtained emancipa- 
tion for them ? A friend once spoke to him about sending 
his little girl to school; he replied with some warmth — 

" Oh, no I never take the child from her mother, 
never ! " 

The same friend made an apology for bringing in his 

" * Your time is so limited/ said he ; ' and I fear they must teasa 

" ' Your apology/ returned O'Connell, 1 reminds me of my friend 
Peter Hussey, who was not remarkable for suavity. * Dan/ said 
Peter to me, * you should not bring in your children after dinner, 
it is a heavy tax upon the admiration of the company. 9 * Never 

T " Personal Recollections," by Mr Daunt, voL ii. p. 135. 




mind, Peter,' said I ; 1 1 admire them so much myself, that I don't 
require any one to help me.'" 

O'Connell's marriage took place on the 23d of June 
1802. The ceremony wa-* strictly private, but two of hia 
brothers were present. It took place in Dame Street, 
Dublin, at the house of Miss O'Connell's brother-in-law, 
Mr James Connor. The ceremony was performed by the 
Rev. Mr Finn, then parish priest of Irishtown. 

O'Connell still continued a member of the Lawyers' 
Corps, and his life must have been constantly in danger. 
When passing St James Street, Dublin, he used to point 
out a house which he had searched in 1803. It was then 
the Grand Canal Hotel. The canals were then to Ireland 
what the railways are now, and at that period travelling by 
water was preferred for many reasons. 

After CTConnell had stood sentry for three successive 

nights, Mr Purcell O'Gorman's turn came. O'Connell 

observed that he had been recently ill, and saw that 

exposure to the night air would probably kill him : — 

" 1 1 shall be in a sad predicament,' he said, ' unless you take my 
turn of duty for me. If I refuse, they '11 accuse me of cowardice or 
croppyism ; if I mount guard, it will be the death of me ! ' So I 
took his place, and thus stood guard for six consecutive nights. 
One night a poor boy was taken up in Dame Street after midnight ; 
he said in his defence that he was going on a message from his 
master, a notary-public, to give notice for protest of a bill. The hour 
seemed a very unlikely one for such a purpose, and we searched hia 
person for treasonable documents. We found in his waistcoat 
pocket a sheet of paper, on which were rudely scrawled several draw- 



of pikes. He turned pale with f right, and trembled all over, 
but persisted in the account he had given us of himself. It was 
e ily tested, and a party immediately went to his master's house to 
make inquiry. His master confirmed his statement, but the visitors, 
whose suspicions were excited by the drawing, rigidly searched the 
whole house for pikes — prodded the beds to try if there were any 
concealed in them — found all right, and returned to our guard-house 
about three in the morning." 

The reign of terror in Ireland by no means concluded 
with the Rebellion of 1798. Indeed, recent risings, or at- 
tempts at rising, which took place soon after, was a suffi- 
cient evidence that no amount of severity could put down 
such attempts, however hopeless. Another reminiscence of 
this period was given thus by the Liberator. The subject 
was a schoolmaster, named O'Connor, who was hanged in 
1797, and whose head was left for many years over the gaol 
at Naas — 

" He made," said O'Connell, "a wicked speech in the dock. He 
complained of taxes, and oppressions of various descriptions, and 
then said, ' Before the flesh decays from my bones — nay, before my 
body is laid in the earth, the avenger of tyranny will come. The 
French are on the sea while I utter these words ; they will soon effect 
their short and easy voyage, and strike terror and dismay into the 
cruel oppressors of the Irish people/ When the prisoner concluded, 
Judge Finuciine commenced his charge, in the course of which he 
thus attacked the politics, predictions, and arguments of the unhappy 
prisoner: < O'Connor, you're a great blockhead for your pains. 
What you say of the French is all nonsense. Don't you know, you 
fool, that Lord Howe knocked their ships to smithereens last year 1 
And therefore, O'Connor, you shall return to the place from whence 
you came, and you shall be delivered into the hands of the common 



executioner, and you shall be hanged by the Oh ! I must not 

forgot, there was another point of nonsense in your speech. You 
talked about the tax on leather, and said it would make us all go 
barefoot Now, O'Connor, I've the pleasure to inform you that I 
have got a large estate in Clare, and there is not a tenant upon it 
that hasn't got as good boots and shoes as myself. And therefore, 
O'Connor, you shall return to the place from whence you came, and 
you shall be delivered into the hands of the common executioner, and 
you shall be hanged by the neck until you are dead, and your body 
shall be divided into quarters; and may the Lord have mercy on 
your soul.' But O'Connor's reply was characteristic—' If you are 
kind to your tenants, my lord, may God bless you.' " 

Few Irishmen, indeed, except the unhappy infidel leaders 
of the Rebellion, had died with words of anger or revenge 
upon their lips. Their own lives they were willing to 
sacrifice ; they only asked in return some little amelioration 
of the misery of those whom they left after them. But 
these men were driven to deeds of desperation by a 
tyranny worse than that of Robespierre." 8 

8 " The greatest difficulty which I experience is to control the violence 
of our loyal friends, who would, if I did not keep the strictest hand upon 
them, convert the system of martial law (which, God knows, is of itself 
bad enough) into a more violent and intolerable tyranny than that of 
Robespierre. The vilest informers are haunted out from the prisons to 
attack, by the most barefaced perjury, the lives of all who are suspected 
of being, or of having been, disaffected ; and, indeed, every Roman 
Catholic of influence is in great danger. You will have seen by tb« ad- 
dresses, both in the north and south, that my attempt to moderate that 
violence and cruelty which has once driven, and which, if tolerated, 
must again soon drive, this wretched country into rebellion, is not re- 
probated \y the voice of the country, although it has appeared so 
culpable in the eyes of the absentees." — Cornwallis* Correspondence, vol, 
II p. 145. 


The most important political work of O'Connell's early 
life was his connection with the Catholic Association. 
His earliest, and some of his most brilliant, speeches were 
made in connection with that movement. He was a leader 
without the name of a leader, and with the serious disad- 
vantage of acting under men who had neither his disin- 
terestedness, his intellect, nor his patriotism. 

In 1793 the forty-shilling freeholders were permitted 
to vote, simply because they could swell the number of 
slaves who enhanced the value of the borough held by 
their masters. The few Irish Catholic peers were neither 
allowed voice nor vote in electing their representatives. 
They were still timid, hesitating, cautious, thankful for 
the little they had, and terribly afraid of losing it by the 
least effort to obtain more. 

The subjects in dispute between the Catholic party and 
the Government were, with some few modifications of cir- 
cumstances, very much what they are now. The Govern- 
ment, having permitted the Catholic to educate his children, 
wished to have the control of that education. The same 
battle is being continued, under more liberal destinies, at 
the present day and hour. Protestant statesmen have yet 
to learn that the Catholic Church does not change— that 
the principles which she held in the first century are pre- 
cisely the same as those which she holds in the nineteenth. 
Circumstances, of which she alone is the judge, may require 
some alteration in the application of these principles, but 



circumstances do not alter the principles themselves. The 
Church is divinely appointed to " teach all nations," and she 
cannot permit her children to receive secular instruction, 
if that instruction is given in such a way as to interfere 
with the Divine teaching which belongs exclusively to 
her. She does not indeed depreciate or undervalue human 
learning; on the contrary, even in religious orders, if 
special gifts are developed, these gifrs are encouraged and 
cultivated with a care and assiduity of which the world 
knows hut little, even while it obtains the benefit of its 
results. 9 

• We give one or two instances. In science, we would mention 
Father Secchi, the eminent Jesuit, whose fame as an astronomer is 
more than European, whose life is devoted to the science for which lie 
has such manifest talent. In the early part of the seventeenth century, 
the " Annals of the Four Masters " were compiled by a Franciscan friar ; 
and this work has been republished, and translated in eight octavo 
volumes, by a Protestant historian, within the last few years. His re- 
ligious superiors, so far from preventing or depreciating his labours, were 
the first to forward them. Out of their poverty they supplied sufficient 
funds for his journeys and the purchase of old manuscripts ; while his 
monastic brothers waited on him and aided him in all possible ways, so 
as to forward and lighten his labour. 

Nor has the Church failed to encourage even cloistered nuns in literary 
labour, Avhere there has been a manifest talent for such work. A glance 
at M. Uapunloup's " Studious Women " will give ample evidence of this. 
Of St Lisba he writes that St Boniface admired her on account of her 
solid learning — " eruditionis sapientia," and that "he took time, which 
he did not consider lost, from his apostolic labours, to correct her Latin 
verses." In the twelfth century, St Hildegarde, a cloistered nun, and 
a canonised saint, astonished her contemporaries by her learned eosmo 
logical works ; and in the sixteenth century, Eleanore Cornaro was ad- 
mitted doctor at Milan, and died in the odour of sanctity. 


The Government, or should we not rather say the world, 
has been always desirous of secularising the priesthood. 
Practically, the attempt seems abandoned in our own 
; imes, because the attempt has been found simply hopeless. 
The priesthood are not intended to be secularised, they are 
iiii ended to be a distinct class, — they are not intended to 
exhibit the manners, or habits, or customs of the world. 
Yet how many, and what futile, efforts have been made by 
Government to have seculars and aspirants to the priest- 
hood educated together, for the avowed purpose of accom- 
plishing the very end which the Church does not desire to 

All this arises from one simple cause. Protestants do 
not believe in a divinely-instituted priesthood, — they do 
not like to see a class of men set apart from their fellows, 
in profession, in habits of life, and in exterior being. But 
such a class has existed since the foundation of Chris- 
tianity, and will exist to the end of time. To fight against 
it, or against the circumstances of its being, is hopeless, and 
being hopeless, is unwise. 

Amongst liberal Protestants, who are not irreconcilably 
prejudiced, there is, if I may use the expression, a good- 
natured desire that priests should be "more like other 
people." But this is precisely what priests are not in- 
tended to be. Such Protestants naturally point to their 
own clergy, to that indefinable, and therefore indescrib- 
able, polish which is given to them by a university educa- 


tiori . to that fashionable manner which makes them undis- 
tinguishablc from other gentlemen, so that their profession 
is only indicated by some trifling difference of dress, not 
sufficient to mark them as a distinct class, just sufficient 
to give a little appearance of distinction in position. This 
they accept as a badge of office, in the same way as they 
accept a lawyer's wig or gown ; and they ask, often with 
the most kindly feeling, why Catholic priests cannot phi}' 
the role of fashionable gentlemen also? The answer is 
simple ; it is because Catholic priests are not intended to 
be in the world, or to be of the world, as Protestant clergy- 
men mtist necessarily be. 

They are men who are to live alone and apart from their 
fellows. They are men vowed neither to possess houses 
nor lands, wife nor child. They are men who have solemnly 
and permanently sacrificed all the pleasures of life. Blame 
them for this if you will, but do not blame them for being 
faithful to what they have vowed. 

OTonnell set himself steadfastly against every attempt 
to secularise the Catholic clergy ; and how frequent and 
how persistent these attempts were, history has recorded. 
Fie had, as we have said before, a peculiar aptitude for 
taking in the whole bearings of a case. He had a rapid 
power of comprehension. Had he been a soldier, we sus- 
pect his army would not have been very easily defeated: for 
be saw in a moment what was weak and required strength- 
ening, what was threatened by the enemy, no matter how 



insidiously it might be disguised. O'Connell had to deal 
with men whose perceptions were by no means so clear as 
his own, and who were incapacitated, to a certain extent, 
cither by position or education, from seeing the dangers 
which threatened them. 

The Catholic laity of the upper classes were only anxious 
to obtain any concession that might be offered, and were 
seldom able to understand that a concession might be a 
disadvantage. The Government, while willing to render 
certain concessions, was unwilling to render them gener- 
ously. Securities were demanded of such a nature as to 
make the concession either positively injurious or simply 
useless. The majority of Catholics looked only at the con- 
cession which was good in itself. O'Connell looked at the 
concomitant circumstances, which were sometimes evil. 

To the upper classes, who were unable to take his large 
view of public affairs, he opposed himself with an energy 
which sometimes bordered on contempt ; but he rarely 
allowed himself to pass the line of decorum. 

His position with the Catholic hierarchy was unfortu- 
nately very difficult; but he conducted himself in their 
regard with a tact and respectful delicacy, which was so 
perfect, as to warrant the conclusion that it arose more 
from his deep sense of religion, and his firm faith in the 
hierarchy of the Church, than from any worldly policy. 

The two great subjects of discussion were the Veto, and 
the arrangements to be made for the College of Maynooth. 


The College of Maynooth was founded originally for the 
priesthood ; but as the English Government were extremely 
anxious that lay students should be admitted also, some 
lay students were admitted. No sooner was this accom- 
plished than a dispute arose ; one party of Protestants 
wishing that the number of lay students should be increased, 
and every facility afforded for their accommodation, the 
other party declaring that the laity should not be admitted at 
all. With these disputes CTConnell had little connection. 
We shall, therefore, pass to the consideration of the Veto 
question, after giving a few extracts from the private cor- 
respondence of the times on the subject of Ma;, nooth 
College. 1 

1 The Earl of Hard wick wrote thus to the Right Hon. Henry Adding- 
ton on the 21st Deceniher 1801 : — " It would be very curious if, after 
all that has passed, Lord Clare should be attempting to acquire popu- 
larity with the Catholics at the expense of the Government. He seems 
to me, with a great share of cleverness and vivacity, to be very deficient 
in consistency and precision in his ideas ; for at the very moment that 
he is contending for the policy of a mixed education of lay boys with 
those intended for the priesthood, he asserts that it is the fixed system 
of the prie-ts not to suffer such mixed education, and, moreover, cannot 
deny the greater probability of the lay scholars, under priestly disciplino 
and with priestly associates, becoming monastic, than of the clerical 
pupils acquiring from their lay schoolfellows the more liberal habits of 
those who are not secluded from the world. In considering the policy 
of this measure, it may be worthy of observation, that any such estab- 
lishment necessarily tends to perpetuate the distinction, which, so far 
as education is concerned, was intended to be done away, by giving an 
equal admission to Catholic and Protestant pupils &t Trinity College, 



There can he no doubt whatever that the object of 
Government in pressing the Yeto was to obtain a complete 
control over the Catholic clergy. The advance was made 
with (lie utmost caution, and the attempt was continued 
from time to time with rare prudence. It seems little 
short of miraculous that the Catholic Church should not 
have yielded to an offer which looked so fair, which was 
made with such an appearance of good will and generosity. 

Minutes of Conversation between the Eight Hon. Charles Abbot 
and Lord Kilwarden at Cork Abbey, Dec. 25, 1801. 

In the course of this conversation, which lasted above an hour, the 
following points were distinctly stated and re-stated by Lord Kil- 
warden : — 

1. The original purpose of the College of Maynooth was to educate 
only priests. The proofs of it are — 1. That it originated in the cir- 
cumstances of the times which had revolutionised the Continent, and 
rendered the former places of educating the Irish priests (viz., St Omer, 
Paris, &c.) unfit and unsafe, and rendered it desirable to educate thera 
at home. 

2. The speech of the Minister (Mr Pelham), in opening the measure 
to Parliament, pointed only at that object. 

3. Lord K., who was then Attorney-General, and commissioned by 
Mr Pelham to confer with the Catholics, had no conference "but with 
Dr Troy (titular Archbishop of Dublin) and another priest ; and when, 
under his general instructions to talk with them, he wished them to 
make the College a joint school for the laity and clergy, they would not 
hear of it, and stated it to be prohibited by their own rules. 

• •••«,, 
(Notes then follow of some remarks made on the manners of the stu- 
dents, which were not very complimentary to them.) 

4. As to the abstract policy, Lord K. would advise the Crown and 
Parliament, with a view only to the present race, to govern by a strong 


Undoubtedly, a few of the Irish Catholic bishops were 
deceived for a time — probably, from not seeing the real 
drift of the matter. The English Catholics, with the ex- 
ception of Dr Milner, did their best to place this chain on 
the necks of their clergy. 

military force, and keep down the Catholics by the bayonet ; but with 
a view to posterity he should wish to educate the Protestants and 
Catholics together : and such was the object oi' opening Trinity College 
to the Catholics. 

5. I told him that now at Trinity College the Provost informed me 
there were many sons of opulent Catholics, and that their numbers of 
this class in creased 

On the 28th December lS01,the Earl of Clare wrote a Memorandum 
on the original institution of Maynooth, from which we give the follow- 
ing extract. It shows that the Catholic hierarchy were as thoroughly 
opposed to uniting lay and secular education then as they are now : — 
"After a pretty long negotiation with Dr Troy, to which I submitted 
very reluctantly by Lord Cornwallis's desire, he consented to receive lay 
pupils - for education according to the original intention of the institu- 
tion, and he consented also to oblige the ecclesiastical pupils to contri- 
bute in part towards the expense of their maintenance and education 
whilst at college. Both points I consider to be essential to palliate the 
mischiefs of this institution. For I fear that the utmost we can do will 
be to palliate its mischiefs, after the strange precipitance and want of 
forethought which has hitherto marked every stage of its progress. If 
the Irish priesthood is to be educated at a monastery at Maynooth, 
secluded from all intercourse with laymen, I cannot see what will bo 
gained by reclaiming them from the foreign Popish universities. And 
if none but the lowest ranks in the community, who are unable to 
contribute to the expense of their maintenance and education, are re- 
ceived into the Irish College, I cannot see any one advantage which can 
result from it. And I can see that it will give a weight of patronage 
to some few Popish ecclesiastics, which they may use as a power- 
ful engine to annoy the State." — Grenville's Coireiwondence, voL iiL pp 



In the year 1899, the Irish Catholic hierarchy passed the 
following resolution : — 

•'Tli at, in the appointment of the prelates of the Roman Catholic 
religion to vacant sees within the kingdom, such interference of 
Government as may enable it to be satisfied with the loyalty of the 
person appointed, is just, and ought to be agreed to." 

On the 4th of July 1812, O'Connell thus alludes to the 
Yeto in one of his most masterly speeches : — 

"The opposition to Catholic Emancipation has assumed a new 
shape ; bigotry and intolerance have been put to the blush, or 
covered with ridicule; everybody laughs at Jack Giffard and Paddy 
Duignan ; and their worthy compeer and colleague in England, Sir 
William Scott, does no longer venture to meet, with adverse front, 
the justice of our cause. He may, indeed, talk of setting oue 
question at rest ; he may declaim upon the moral inferiority of the 
Irish Catholics ; but let him rest assured that, so long as his children 
— if he has any — so long as the swarthy race of his Scotts are 
placed, by law, on any superiority to the Irish Catholics, so long 
will it be impossible to put the question to rest. It never can — it 
never shall — rest, save in unqualified, unconditional Emancipation. 
As to the moral inferiority, I shall not dispute the point with him; 
but I trust no Catholic judge will ever be found in this country with 
such an accommodating disposition as to decide the precise same 
question in two different ways, as we are told that learned gentleman 
has done, with the question of ' paper blockades.' Let him, I am sure 
I consent, direct his sapient opposition, in his present prudent course 
of retarding the discussion of the right and justice of our claims, by 
introducing other topics. The points of delay— the resting-places 
-—are obvious ; and when the present are exhausted, I rely on the 
malignity of our oppressors to invent new terms for this purpose. 

" First, there was the Veto. That, indeed, was soon put down by 
the unanimous voice of the Catholic people, who, besides other 
reasons, really could not see, in the actual selection made by the 



Irish Government of persons to fill the offices belonging of right to 
them, anything to tempt them to confer on that Government the 
nomination of upwards of thirty other offices of emolument and 
honour. If hostility to the Irish people be a recognised recommen- 
dation to all other employments, is it likely that, in one alone, 
virtue and moral fitness should obtain the appointment 1 It was 
too gross and glaring a presumption in an administration, avowing 
its abhorrence for everything Irish, to expect to be allowed to inter- 
fere with the religious discipline of the Irish Catholic Church. 

" Driven from any chance of the Veto, our enemies next sug- 
gested 'the arrangement,' as it was called : but this half measure 
had but few supporters. It was not sufficiently strong for the zealous 
intolerants ; its advantages were not so obvious to the profligate ; it 
was met by this plain reply — that we knew of no real inconvenience 
that could possibly arise from the present system of the government 
of our Church ; but if any existed, it were fitter to be treated of by 
the venerable prelates of that Church, who understood the subject 
best, than by ministers who wish to turn everything into an engine 
of state policy. 

" ' The arrangement ' was then soon forgotten, and now, my lord, 
we have new terms stated — those are * sanctions and securities.' 
We are now told we cannot be emancipated without * sanctions and 
securities.' What are ' sanctions 1 * They are calculated, I pre- 
sume, to do a great deal of mischief, because they are quite unintelli- 
gible. As to ' securities/ indeed I can understand that word ; and 
[ am quite ready to admit that securities are necessary ; they are 
necessary against the effects upon a passive, but high-minded people 
— of continued insult and prolonged oppression. They are necessary 
in a sinking state against the domestic disturbances and organised 
disaffection which prevail in England — against the enormous and 
increasing power of the enemy — against dilapidated resources, ex- 
piring commerce, depreciated currency, and accumulating expendi- 
ture — against the folly, the incapacity, the want of character of the 
administration — against all those evils of which there is courage to 


B i | — against that domestic insult, respecting which it is prudent 
to be silent — against all these, 'securities' are necessary, and they 
are easy to be found ; they are to be found in conciliation and eman- 
cipation, their rectitude and justice. The brave, the generous, 
the enthusiastic people of Ireland are ready to place themselves in 
the breach that has been made in their country ; they claim the post 
of honour, that is, the post of utmost clanger ; they are ready to secure 
the throne and the constitution, and all they require in return is, to 
be recognised as men and human beings in this their native land. 

" Do not, then, I would say to any minister — do not presume to 
insult them, by attempting to treat them as maniacs, to be secured 
only by ropes and chains. Alas ! their only insanity is their devo- 
tion to you. Tell them not that the more they are free, the less will 
they be grateful ; tell them not that the less you have to fear from 
their discontent, the more strictly will you bind them. Oppress 
them if you please ; but hesitate before you deem it prudent thus to 
insult their first, their finest feelings." 

With that withering sarcasm of which he was especially 

a master, he attacked Mr Wellesley Pole, and the " classic" 

Castlereagh : — ■ 

" Having disposed of ' Veto, arrangement, sanctions, and securi- 
ties/ there remains but one resource for intolerance : the classic 
Castlereagh has struck it out. It consists in — what do you think ! 
Why in ' hitches/ Yes, 'hitches ' is the elegant word which is now 
destined to protract our degradation. It is in vain that our advo- 
cates have increased ; in vain have our foes been converted ; in 
vain has William Wellesley Pole become our warm admirer. Oh, 
how beautiful he must have looked advocating the Catholic cause ! 
and his conversion, too, has been so satisfactory— he has accounted 
for it upon such philosophic principles. Yes, he has gravely in- 
formed us that he was all his life a man detesting committees ; you 
might see by him that thename of a committee discomposed his nerves, 
and excited his most irritable feelings ; at the sound of a committee 



he was roused to madness. Now, the Catholics had insisted upon 
acting by a committee; the naughty Papists nad Jsed nothing but pro- 
fane committees, and, of course, he proclaimed his hostility. But iu 
proportion as he disliked committees, so did he love and approve of ag- 
gregate meetings — respectable aggregate meetings ! Had there be *n a 
chamber at the Castle large enough for an aggregate meeting, he would 
have given it. Who does not see that it is quite right to doat upon 
aggregate meetings and detest committees by law, logic, philosophy, 
and science of legislation) All recommend the one and condemn the 
other ; and, at length, the Catholics have had the good sense to call 
their committee a board, to make their aggregate meetings mom 
frerpient. They, therefore, deserve Emancipation ; and, with the 
blessing of God, he (Mr Pule) would confer it on them ! (Laughter 
and cheers.) 

" But, seriously, let us recollect that Wellesley Pole is the brother 
of one of our most excellent friends — of Marquis Wellesley, who 
had so gloriously exerted himself in our cause — who had manfully 
abandoned one administration because he could not procure our 
liberty, and rejected power under any other, unless formed on the 
basis of Emancipation ; and who had, before this hour in which I 
speak, earned another unfading laurel, and the eternal affection of 
the Irish people, by his motion in the House of Lords. The 
eloquence and zeal and high character of that noble marquis, seemed 
all that was wanting to ensure, at no remote period, our success. He 
knows little of the Irish heart who imagines that his disinterested 
services will ever be forgotten ; no, they are graved on the soul of 
Irish gratitude, and will ever live in the memory of the finest people 
on the earth. Lord Castlereagh, too, has declared in our favour, 
with the prudent reserve of ' the hitches ; ' he is our friend, and 
has been so these last twenty years — our secret friend ; as he says 
so, upon his honour as a gentleman, we are bound to believe him. 
If it be a merit in the minister of a great nation to possess profound 
discretion, this merit Lord Castlereagh possesses in a supereminent 
degree. Why, he has preserved this secret with the utmost success 



Who ever suspected that be had such a secret in his keeping 1 The 
whole tenor of his life, every action of his, negatived the idea of his 
being our friend; he spoke against us — he voted against us — ha 
wrote and be published against us; and it turns out now that he 
did all this merely to show how well he could keep a secret. Oh, 
admirable contriver! oh, most successful placeman! most discreet 
and confidential of ministers!" 

He then proceeded to show what the "hitches " were: — 

" Our legal persecutors, who hunt us with a keenness only in- 
creased by their disappointment, and rendered more rancorous by 
our prospect of success — good and godly men — are at this moment 
employed in projecting fresh scenes of prosecution. Every part of 
the press that has dared to be free will surely be punished, and 
public spirit and liberality will, in every case that can be reached by 
the arts of state persecution, expiate its offence in a prison. Be- 
lieve me, my prophetic fears are not vain : I know the managers 
well, and place no confidence in their holy seeming. Again England 
affords another opportunity of extending the ' hitches,' under the 
pretence of making laws to prevent rebellion there ; the adminis- 
tration will suspend the 'habeas corpus,' for the purpose of crushing 
emancipation here ; and thus will illustrate the contrast between the 
very words which it would require twelve simpletons to swear meant 
the same thing. The new laws occasioned by English rioters will pass 
harmless over their heads, and fall only upon you. It would be incon- 
sistent if Castlerengh, the worthy successor of Clare and John Foster, 
used any other plan towards Ireland. The ' hitches.' the ' hitches/ 
plainly mean all that can be raised of venal outcry against us, and all 
that can be enacted of arbitrary law, to prevent onr discussions. 

" Still, still we have resources — we have rich resources in those 
affectionate sentiments of toleration which our Irish Protestant 
brethren have proudly exhibited during the present year. The 
Irish Protestants will not abandon or neglect their own work ; it is 
they who have placed us on our present elevation — their support has 



rendered the common cause of our common country triumphant. 
Our oppressors, yielding an unwilling assent to the request of the 
Protestants of Ireland, may compensate themselves by abusing us 
in common ; they may style us agitators — Mr Canning calls us 
agitators with ulterior views — but those Protestant agitators are the 
best friends to the security and peace of the country; and to us, 
Popish agitators, — for I own it, my lord, I am an agitator, and we 
solemnly promise to continue so, until the period of unqualified 
emancipation — until 'the simple repeal;' as to us, agitators 
amongst the Catholics, we are become too much accustomed to 
calumny to be terrified at it ; but how have we deserved reproach 
and obloquy 1 How have we merited calumny ] Of myself, my 
lord, I shall say nothing — I possess no talents for the office ; but 
no man shall prevent the assertion of my rigid honesty. I am, it 
is true, the lowliest of the agitators, but there are, amongst them, 
men of first-rate talents, and of ample fortunes, men of the 
most ancient families and of hereditary worth, men of public spirit 
and of private virtue, and, above all, men of persevering, undaunted, 
and unextinguishable love of their country, of their poor, degraded, 
insulted country — to that country, will I say of all the agitators, 
with the exception of my humble self — 

" * Boast, Erin, boast them tameless, frank, and free.' 

"Out of the hands of those agitators, however, the Government 
is desirable to take the people, and the Government is right. Out 
of the sphere of your influence, my lord, the people can never be 
taken, for reasons which, because you are present, I shall not men- 
tion, but which are recognised by the hearts of the Irish nation. 
(Loud cheering.) But out of our hands the people may easily be 
taken. They are bound to us only by the ties of mutual sympathies. 
We are the mfcre straws which are borne upon the torrent of pubiic 
wrongs and public griefs. Hestore their rights to the people, con- 
ciliate the Irish nation — which is ready to meet you more than half- 
way — and the power of the agitators is gone in an instant. I do 


certainly feel the alarm expressed at the agitation of the question 
of Catholic rights as a high compliment ; it clearly points out the 
course we ought to pursue. Let us rouse the Irish people, from 
one extreme to the other of the island, in this constitutional cause. 
Let the Catholic combine with the Protestant, and the Protestant 
with the Catholic, and one generous exertion sets every angry feeling 
at rest, and banishes, for ever, dissension and division. The tempta- 
tion to invasion will be taken away from the foreign enemy; the 
pretext and the means of internal commotion will be snatched from 
the domestic foe ; our country, combined in one great phalanx, will 
defy every assault ; and we shall have the happiness of obtaining real 
security by that course of conciliation which deserves the appro- 
bation of every sound judgment, and must ensure the applause of 
every feeling heart, — we shall confer an honour on ourselves, and 
ensure the safety of our country.''' 

O'Connell lias been called an "Agitator" in reproach; 
we see here why he was an agitator on principle. Long 
before he began his career of public agitation, he showed 
the English Government how it could be prevented, or 
rather how it could be rendered unnecessary. " Restore 
their rights to the people, conciliate the Irish nation, which 
is ready to meet you more than half-way, and the power 
of the agitator is gone in an instant." Had O'Connell's 
advice been taken in the year 1812, we should not have 
heard of Fenianism in the year 1868. If England would 
not oblige the Irish nation to agitate, by making agitation 
virtually a necessary preliminary to any instalment of 
justice, there would be more peace at this side of the 
Channel, and not less prosperity at the other. 

In 1804 the Catholics met in Dublin to concert measures 



for obtaining the long-promised justice of Emancipation, 
They met in private at the house of Mr Ryan, and their 
proceedings were not made public, as the Habeas Corpus 
Act was in force. Another meeting was held in 1805, 
when Lord Fitzwilliam, Sir Thomas French, Sir Edward 
Bellew, Denis Scully, and R. R. Ryan, were appointed to 
present to Mr Pitt the petition to Parliament which they 
had agreed on. 

The petition was cautiously worded, with a terrible fear 
of giving offence, since the Catholics were long accus- 
tomed to the assurance that either the matter or the manner 
was in fault, if they desired to express their claims. It 
was O'Connell who first taught them a wiser and more 
manly way. He bid them ask for justice as justice. Until 
now, justice to a Catholic was taken to be a favour which 
might or might not be granted, or for which, if granted, 
the recipient should be perfectly grateful ; for which, if 
refused, he should meekly acquiesce. To refuse justice 
might seem unjust ; the refusal of a favour could not be 
looked on in the same light. 

Until now the Catholics had said, in trembling accents, 
I pray of you to grant me this favour, permit me to wor- 
ship my God according to the dictates of my conscience, 
allow me to educate my children, grant me the ordinary 
rights of a citizen. 

But O'Connell thundered out, Give me justice, I ask 
no more — I shall not be satisfied with less. No wonder 


that those who were unwilling to do justice hated the 
man who demanded it. 

The Catholic had hitherto spoken in cautious language, 
with measured accent, in humble tones, and with words 
of deprecation. 

O'Connell flung his words hither and thither like a 
Norse giant playing with Scandinavian rocks. If they hit 
hard sometimes, it was because his aim was true. If the 
blows were rude, it was because he did not stop to select 
his missiles very carefully. If O'Connell had not been an 
Irishman, and had not been a Catholic, — if instead of a 
little coarseness he had possessed a little Cromwellian 
brutality, — men like Carl vie would have flung him up into 
a niche of fame, would have honoured him as a hero, who 
not only hated shams, but demolished them. 

His was no one-sided love of justice. His was no 
affected cry to humour men who persecuted one class of 
their fellow r -creatures, while they cried out for justice to 
another ; his justice was universal. No man has ever dared 
accuse O'Connell of intolerance, except to intolerant indi- 
viduals. No class was ever insulted by his eloquence; no 
creed was ever vexed. He cried out alike for the slave in 
America, and the yet more cruelly treated serf in British 
India, If he demanded justice to Ireland, he also de- 
manded justice for all other peoples ; and one of his most 
thrilling appeals to man to exercise, in his measure, this great 
attribute of God, was made at a meeting of the British 



India Society, where Lord Brougham took the chair, and 
where O'Connell commenced his speech by exclaiming, " 1 
am here to claim justice for India." 

The meetings of the Catholic? in Dublin began to be 
regularly reported from the year 1 SOS. On the 19th of 
January, they held a meeting for the purpose of submitting 
certain resolutions, as well as to consider the propriety of 
presenting a petition to the Imperial Parliament, praying 
the removal of the disabilities under which the body had 
so long and so patiently laboured. 

The Earl of Fingal was in the chair, and the proceed- 
ings were opened by Count Dnlton, who, after alluding to 
the accidental absence of Lord Gormanstown, moved a 
resolution, expressing anxiety to petition Parliament for a 
repeal of the Penal Laws, and declaring that to be the 
" critical juncture when such a petition ought, without 
delay, to be transmitted." 

John Byrne, Esq., of Mullinahack, seconded the motion, 
and deprecated divisions amongst the Catholics. 

An amusing instance of the way in which Catholic 
divisions arose occurred now. Mr O'Connor, though 
u forcibly impressed" with the "propriety and necessity 
for petitioning," was nevertheless terribly afraid of doing 
it, and begged the meeting to wait until Providence should 
interfere in their behalf. He fcrgot that Providence helps 
those who help themselves, 

O'Connell replied — 



" Nothing but disunion among themselves could ever retard the 
Catholic cause. Division, while it rendered them the object of dis- 
gust to their friend, would make them the scorn and ridicule of 
their enemies. He was ready to admit that the present administra- 
tion were personal enemies of the Catholic cause; yet if the Catho- 
lics continue loyal, firm, and undivided, they had little to fear from 
the barren petulence of the ex-advocate, Perceval, or the frothy 
declamation of the poetaster, Canning. They might meet with equal 
contempt the upstart pride of Jenkinson, and with more than 
contempt the pompous inanity of that Lord Castlereagh, who might 
well be permitted to hate the country that gave him birth, to her 
own annihilation. He was also free to confess that he knew of no 
Etatute passed since the Union which had for its object to increase 
the trade or advance the liberties of Ireland ; but he thought it 
impossible, if the Catholics persevered, with undivided efforts, in 
their loyal and dutiful pursuit of emancipation, that any ad mini' 
stration could be found sufficiently daring in guilt to stand between 
them and the throne of their father and sovereign, and most calum- 
niously and falsely use his name to raise obstacles in the way of 
good subjects seeking to become free citizens. He did, therefore, 
conjure the gentlemen to give up their opposition ; he respected 
their talents, and however convinced of their mistake, could not 
doubt the purity of their motives. They must see that their argu- 
ments against the resolution were confined to the ridiculous opposi- 
tion, in fact, against the noble lord, for his having condescended to 
ask advice before he acted ; and to the equally frivolous difficulty 
objected to, the form of the notice for calling the meeting. Was it 
possible that rational beings should govern their conduct by such 
arguments in the serious pursuit of freedom 1 They were sons, and 
might dearly love the parents who gave them birth— let them recol- 
lect that it was for their rights that the petition was framed : they 
were brothers, and should, if they felt the endearing impulses of 
fraternal affection, sacrifice party, and, of course, mere forms and 
teremonies, in a struggle for obtaining the rights of their brethren: 



they were parents, and all the sweet charities of life combined in 
favour of the children who looked up to them for protection. It 
was the liberties of those children the present petition Bought — 
would they postpone for an hour that sacred blessing? Could they, 
from any motive, thwart the progress of those who sought it 1 He 
knew that was impossible, and he hoped, therefore, there would be 
no division." 

The result was the withdrawal of the amendment, and 
the unanimous carrying of a resolution to petition. 

Oo the 23d February 1810, the following letter appeared 
in the Freeman's Journal : — 

" To the Editor of the ' Freeman's Journal.' 

M SiB, — I am directed by the Catholic Committee to inform you 
that the statement contained in a morning paper of this day, re- 
specting their proceedings, is extremely inaccurate and erroneous ic 
many important particulars, more especially as far as relates to the 
Veto. That question tras not fixed for discussion, nor was there 
any determination whatsoever on the subject. 

" I am also directed to request that you will publish this letter, 
as the committee consider that such statement, if uncontradicted, 
may be productive of mischief. — I am, Sir, your obedient servant, 

u Daniel O'Connell, Acting Sec. 

■ Crow Street, February 22, 1810." 

On the 4th May 1810, there was a meeting of the 
Lublin Corporation, to arrange for a general meeting on a 
large scale, the object being to petition for the Repeal of 
the Union. 

The social, effects of that measure w T ere beginning to be 
deeply felt. Trade was failing, shops were closing, the 
once busy streets were almost deserted. There was no 




business done in Westmoreland Street, and there were 
no "fashionables" promenading in Grafton Street. How 
could there be, when fashion had fled to the seat of fashion, 
and trade had failed, because there was no capital to sup- 
port it, and no aristocracy to encourage it ? 2 

The statement that " four-fifths of the legislature knew 
very little of the country except by misrepresentation," 
was only too true ; and, unfortunately, any attempt to 
remove this ignorance was useless. 

The Common Council resolved on a petition, in which 

2 The following extract from tlie speech made by Mr Willis fill up 
the melancholy details : — " Mr Willis said he rose under much difficulty, 
from the insidious and malignant attacks on his character which the 
House had just listened to. He hoped it would not prejudice them 
against the motion he would now submit to them on the measure of the 
Union — a motion so interesting to every Irishman, that it stood in need 
of little apology. He had no doubt but Dr Whitelaw's pamphlet would 
be again introduced, to show the prosperity of this city ; but he would 
oppose to that the general and overwhelming bankruptcy with which 
this unfortunate country was inundated. He asked why Westmoreland 
Street, Grafton Street, and every other trading part of this city, exhi- 
bited such distress — why so many houses and shops were shut 1 It is 
because the men of property, the fashion of the country, were inveigled 
away by this measure to spend their property in another land. He 
considered a union of the Government absolutely necessary to support 
our glorious constitution, and the connection between the sister islands, 
to render the executive strong and powerful, to enable it to bring into 
action the whole strength of the empire ; but a union of legislatures he 
considered in a very different point of view. A non-resident legislature, 
four-fifths of which knew little of this ill-fated country but by misre- 
presentation, be they ever so well inclined to serve us, are liable to im- 
position, practised by interested or designing men. This had been the case 
in the Coal Act, the Paving Act, the Insurrection Act, and many others." 


THE CATHOLICS u D UP E /)." 29! 

they declared that the Union " had not increased their 
prosperity, comfort, or happiness," — and stated, which 
could not be contradicted, that Ireland had " sutFered 
extremely in trade and commerce," which was patent to 
all; and, moreover, that Ireland had not improved in 
"civilisation " or " manners," from intercourse with Enir- 
land, neither had the " discord of religious sects been 

The petitioners asked, as Irishmen will ask and con- 
tinue to ask, for equal laws, for the administration of 
justice, which should be justice. They might as well haw 
addressed themselves to the North Wind. 

"Mr M'Kenzie said he was obliged, being instructed by his cor- 
poration, to vote for a petition. He conceived his instructions did 
not go to support such a petition as the one now read ; the language 
was improper — it could not be otherwise, coining as it did." 

Mr Paterson thought the petition ; * presumptuous," 
and Mr Craven said the Catholics, without whom the 
Union would never have been carried, were " duped." 
There is not the slightest doubt that the Union would 
have been carried without the Catholics, at the cost of 
another rebellion; but the promoters of the plan of Union 
preferred carrying it quietly, so they duped the Catholics, 
which was easier, if less honourable. 

On the 8th August 1810, 3 the grand jurors of the city, 

See files of the Freeman's Journal for the year 1810. 



"viewing the distressed and deplorable state" of the 
Dublin manufactures, and the " great gloom and misery" 
of their " unfortunate " country, requested the high 
sheriffs to call a meeting to petition for a Eepeal of 
the Union. This requisition was signed by 150 jurymen. 
A meeting was held at the Koyal Exchange on the 18th 
September 1810, and Sir James Riddell, the High Sheriff, 
took the chair. The middle npper class were all eager 
for Repeal of the Union ; the npper class lived principally 
in England, and so that they got their rents, did not 
trouble themselves about the state of the country. If 
an agitation was threatened, or a tythe-proctor carded, 
they called out for, martial law; they knew nothing of, 
and cared nothing for, the unhappy people whose last 
farthing was wrung from them before they attempted to 
avenge themselves. 

It has been generally believed, or taken as an accepted 
fact, that Irishmen acquiesced generally in the Union, 
that the agitation in O'Connell's later years, and at 
the present day, for repeal, or a federal government, ia 
the work of a few designing politicians. This opinion or 
belief is one of the many evil results of English ignorance 
of Irish history. It is true that, for a year or so after the 
passing of the Union, Ireland lay as one stunned by a 
heavy and unexpected blow ; but she soon recovered herself, 
and her first act was, to protest both against the blow and 
the manner in which the blow was given. A glance over the 


files of Irish newspapers, from the year 1808 to the present 
da)-, will give ample evidence of the truth of this assertion.* 
"We shall give a few extracts from the speeches at this 
aggregate meeting as an evidence of the public opinion of 
the day. 

Mr Hutton, who moved the first motion, said: — 

" Sir, We have now had the experience of ten years, since the 
passing of the Act of Union, and let me ask, had the Irish manu- 
factures had a fair competition in the British markets? Have the 
manufactures of Ireland been protected and encouraged, or have 
those of Dublin flourished, as we were promised 1 Let me ask, have 
the poor of the land had their education properly attended to? 
Every man that is a well-wisher to the prosperity of Ireland will 
answer me in the negative. Have the Roman Catholics met with 
any acknowledgment of the ju-tice of their claims? If they have, 
let any man who now hears me stand forward and avow it. On 
the contrary, the Catholics, in their rights, ever since the passing of 

4 The following extract from the Dublin Evening Post of 20th March 
1808, is an evidence of the opinion advanced above : — 

"Repeal of the Union. — The corporation of skinners and glovers 
have the honour of being the first to come forward to express their 
sentiments on the policy and necessity which exists for a Repeal of the 
Act of Union. These worthy and spirited citizens met yesterday, when 
they entered into resolutions which will be found in another column. 
Other corporations are preparing to follow up with spirit the example of 
the skinners and glovers. They will not be deterred by the assertion 
that the effort is useless. They recollect, that although it was proposed 
in the Irish House of Commons, that the petition from Belfast for the 
repeal of Poyning's law should be burned by the hangman in College 
Green, yet, in less than seven years after, the law was repealed : they 
will al>o recollect that Lucas was exiled for supporting those principles, 
which ifterwavds procured Grattan the thanks of his country, and a 
Yote of fifty thousand pounds." 


the A.ct of Union, have stood, and do stand at present, just where 
fchey begin. They have endeavoured to get their claims acknow- 
ledged and acquiesced in ; but are they not at this instant precluded 
['nun holding any superior rank in the army? I do not, sir, speak 
of administration, but I contend that the welfare and prosperity of 
Ireland depend upon the Repeal of the Act of Union." 

Mr 0' Con ii ell said — 

''The Union was, therefore, a manifest injustice — and it con- 
tinues to be unjust to this day; it w T as a crime, and must be still 
criminal, unless it shall be ludicrously pretended that crime, like 
wine, improves by old age, and that time mollifies injustice into 

" Alas ! England, that ought to have been to us as a sister and a 
friend — England, whom we had loved, and fought and bled for — 
England, whom we have protected, and whom we do protect — 
England, at a period, when ont of 100,000 of the seamen in her 
service, 70,000 were Irish — England stole upon us like a thief in 
the night, and robbed us of the precious gem of our Liberty ; she 
stole from us ' that in which nought enriched her, but made us pool 
indeed.' Reflect, then, my friends, on the means employed to ac- 
complish this disastrous measure. I do not speak of the meaner 
instruments of bribery and corruption — we all know that everything 
was put to sale — nothing profane or sacred was omitted in the 
Union mart — offices in the revenue, commands in the army and 
navy, the sacred ermine of justice, and the holy altars of God were 
all profaned and polluted as the rewards of Union services. By & 
vote in favour of the Union, ignorance, incapacity, and profligacy 
obtained certain promotion— and our ill-fated but beloved country 
was degraded to her utmost limits, before she was transfixed in 
slavery. But I do not intend to detain you in the contemplation 
of those vulgar means of parliamentary success — they are within the 
daily routine of official management : neither will I direct your at- 
tention to the frightful recollection of that avowed fact, which is 


now part of history, that the Rebellion itself was fomented and en- 
couraged, in order to facilitate the Union. Even the Rebellion was 
an accidental and a secondary cause — the real cause of the 'Union 
lay deeper, but it is quite obvious. It is to be Sound at once in the 
religious dissensions which the enemies of Ireland have created, and 
continued, and seek to perpetuate amongst ourselves, by telling us 
of, and separating us into, wretched sections and miserable subdi- 
visions ; they separated the Protestant from the Catholic, and the 
Presbyterian from both ; they revived every antiquated cause of 
domestic animosity, and they invented new pretexts of rancour; but 
above all, my countrymen, they belied and calumniated us to each 
other — they falsely declared that we hated each other, and they 
continued to repeat the assertion, until we came to believe it ; they 
succeeded in producing all the madness of party and religious dis- 
tinctions ; and whilst we were lost in the stupor of insanity, they 
plundered us of our country, and left us to recover at our leisure 
from the horrid delusion into which we had been so artfully con- 

"Such, then, were the means by which the Union was effectu- 
ated. It has stript us of commerce and wealth; it has degraded us, 
and deprived us not only of our station as a nation, but even of the 
name of our country ; we are governed by foreigners — foreigners 
make our laws, for were the one hundred members who nominally 
represent Ireland in uhat is calied the Imperial Parliament, were 
they really our representatives, what influence could they, although 
WiboUght and unanimous, have ov'er the five hundred and fifty-eight 
Knglish and Scotch members '2 But what is the fact ] Why, that 
cut of the one hundred, such as they are, that sit for this country, 
more than one-fifth know nothing of us, and are unknown to us. 
What, for example, do we know about Andrew Strahan, printer to 
the king ? What can Henry Martin, barrister-at-law, care for the 
rights or liberties of Irishmen ] Some of us may, perhaps, for our 
misfortunes, have been compelled to read a verbose pamphlet of 
James Stevens ; but who knows anything of one Cnle, one 


"THE THING IS a mockery:' 

Hughan, one Cackin, or of a dozen more whose names I could men* 
tion, only because I have discovered them for the purpose of speak- 
ing to you about them; what sympathy can we, in our sufferings, 
expect from those men ? What solicitude for our interests? What 
are they to Ireland, or Ireland to them? No, Mr Sheriff, we 
are not represented — we have no effectual share in the legislation — 
the thing is a mere mockery; neither is the Imperial Parliament 
competent to legislate for us — it is too unwieldy a machine to legis- 
late with discernment for England alone ; but with respect to Ire- 
land, it has all the additional inconvenience that arise from want of 
interest and total ignorance. Sir, when I talk of the utter ignorance, 
in Irish affairs, of the members of the Imperial Parliament, I do not 
exaggerate or mistake ; the ministers themselves are in absolute 
darkness with respect to this country. I undertake to demonstrate 
it. Sir, they have presumed to speak of the growing prosperity of 
Ireland. I know them to be vile and profligate — I cannot be sus- 
pected of flattering them — yet, vile as they are, I do not believe 
they could have had the audacity to insert in the speech, supposed 
to be spoken by his Majesty, that expression, had they known that, 
in fact, Ireland was in abject and increasing poverty." 

Then he appealed to his audience on the subject of reli- 
gious intolerance, a subject which lie lost no opportunity of 
bringing forward :- — 

"Who, in 1795, thought a Union possible? Pitt dared to at- 
tempt it, and he succeeded , it only requires the resolution to 
attempt its repeal; in fact, it requires only to entertain the hope of 
repealing it, to make it impossible that the Union should continue j 
but that pleasing hope could never exist whilst the infernal dissen* 
sions on the score of religion were kept up. The Protestant alone 
could not expect to liberate his country, the Roman Catholic alone 
could not do it, neither could the Presbyterian ; but amalgamate the 
three into the Irishman, and the Union is repealed. Learn discre- 
tion from your enemies; they have crushed your country by foment. 


ing religious discord ; serve her, by abandoning it for ever. Let 
each man give up his share of the mischief, let each man forsake 
every feeling of rancour. But, I say not this to barter with you, 
my counti y men ; 1 require no equivalent from you ; whatever course 
you shad take, my mind is fixed ; I trample underfoot the Catholic 
claims, if they can interfere with the repeal ; I abandon all wish for 
emancipation, if it delays that repeal. Nay ; were Mr Perceval, to- 
morrow, to offer me the Repeal of the Union upon the terms of 
re-enacting the entire penal code, 1 declare it from my heart, and 
in the presence of my God, that I would most cheerfully embrace 
his offer. Let us then, my beloved countrymen, sacrifice our wicked 
and groundless animosities on the altar of our country; let that 
spirit which, heretofore emanating from Dungannon, spread all over 
the island, and gave light and liberty to the land, be again cherished 
amongst us ; let us rally round the standard of Old Ireland, and 
we shall easily procure that greatest of political blessings — an Irish 
King, an Irish House of Lords, and an Irish House of Commons." 

The close of O'Connell's speech was greeted by long and 
continued applause, but the High Sheriff was nervous. 
O'Connell had used the words "Irish King," and no one 
could tell what construction might be put on the expression ; 
therefore, O'Connell was obliged to explain himself, and to 
make a special declaration of loyalty. 

A declaration and a petition were drawn up this year. 
The declaration was on the vexed subject of the Veto, the 
petition was for Repeal. 

O'Connell drew up the petition, w r hich ran thus — 

u To the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom o? 
Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled, 
"We, whose names are hereunto subscribed, on behalf of our- 
selves and of others, his Majesty's subjects professing the Roman 


Catholic religion in Ireland, humbly beg leave to represent to thia 
honourable House — 

"That we, your petitioners, did, in the years 1805 and 1808, 
humbly petition this honourable House, praying the total abolition 
of the penal laws, which aggrieve the Catholics of Ireland. 

"We now feel ourselves obliged, in justice to ourselves, our 
families, and our country, once more to solicit the attention of this 
honourable House to the subject of our said petition. 

" We state, that the Roman Catholics constitute the most numer- 
ous and increasing portion of the inhabitants of Ireland, comprising 
an immense majority of the manufacturing, trading, and agricul- 
tural interests, and amounting to, at least, four-fifths of the Irish 
population ; that they contribute largely to the exigencies of their 
country, civil and military ; that they pay the far greater part of 
the public and local taxes; that they supply the armies and navies 
of this empire with upwards of one-third part in number of the 
soldiers and sailors employed in the public service ; and that, not- 
withstanding heavy discouragements, they form the principal con- 
stituent part of the strength, wealth, and industry of Ireland. 

" Yet such is the grievous operation of the penal laws of which 
we complain, that the Roman Catholics are thereby not only set 
apart from their fellow-subjects as aliens in their native land, but 
are ignominiously and rigorously proscribed from almost all situa- 
tions of public trust, honour, or emolument, including every public 
function and department, from the Houses of legislature down to 
the most petty corporations. 

" We state, that whenever the labour of public duty is to be ex- 
acted and enforced, the Catholic is sought out and selected • where 
honours or rewards are to be dispensed, he is neglected and con- 

" Where the military and naval strength of the empire is to be 
recruited, the Catholics are eagerly solicited, nay compelled, to bear 
at least their full share in the perils of warfare, and in the lowest 
ranks ; but when preferment or promotion (the dear and legitimate 



prize of successful valour) are to be distributed as rewards of merit, 
no laurels are destined to grace a Catholic's brow, or fit the wearer 
for command. 

"We state, thus generally, the grievous condition of the Roman Ca- 
tholics of Ireland, occasioned solely by the fatal influence and opera- 
tion of the penal laws ; and though we forbear to enter into greater 
detail, ve t we do not the less trust to the influence of reason and justice 
(which eventually must prevail) for effecting a full and deliberate 
inquiry into our grievances, and accomplishing our effectual relief. 

u We do beg leave, however, most solemnly, to press upon the 
attention of this honourable House, the imminent public dangers 
which necessarily result from so inverted an order of things, and so 
vicious and unnatural a system of legislation — a system which has 
long been the reproach of this nation, and is unparalleled throughout 
modern Christendom. 

"And we state it as our fixed opinion, that, to restore to the 
Catholics of Ireland a full, equal, and unqualified participation of 
the benefits of the laws and constitution of England, and to with- 
draw all the privations, restrictions, and vexatious distinctions 
which oppress, injure, and afflict them in their country, is now 
become a measure not merely expedient, but absolutely necessary — 
not only a debt of right due to a complaining people, but perhaps 
the last remaining resource of this empire, in the preservation of 
which we take so deep an interest. 

" We therefore pray this honourable House to take into their 
most serious consideration the nature, extent, and operation of the 
aforesaid penal laws, and, by repealing the same altogether, to re- 
Btore to the Roman Catholics of Ireland those liberties So long with- 
held, and their due share in that Constitution, which they, in 
common with their fellow-subjects of every other description, contri- 
bute by taxes, arms, and industry, to sustain and defend. 

"And your petitioners will ever pray." 

On the 24th of February 1810, the Catholic bishops met 
in Dublin, and drew up the following resolutions : — 


"Resolved 'That it is the undoubted and exclusive right of 

Roman Catholic bishops to discuss and decide on all matters 
appertaining to the doctrine and discipline of the Roman Catholic 

"Resolved — ' That we do hereby confirm and declare our un- 
altered adherence to the resolutions unanimously entered into at our 
last general meeting, on the 14th September 1806.' 

u Resolved — ' That we are convinced that the oath of allegiance 
framed and proposed by the legislature itself, and taken by us, is 
not only adequate security for our loyalty, but that we know of no 
stronger pledge that we can possibly give/ 

" Resolved — ' That having disclaimed upon oath all right in the 
Pope, or any other foreign potentate, to interfere in the temporal con- 
cerns of the kingdom, an adherence to the practice observed in the 
appointment of Irish Roman Catholic bishops cannot tend to produce 
an undue or mischievous exercise of any foreign influence whatsoever. 

" Resolved — ; That we neither seek nor desire any other earthly 
consideration for our spiritual ministry to our respective flocks, save 
what they may, from a sense of religion and duty, voluntarily 
afford us.' 

" Resolved — ' That an address, explanatory of these our senti- 
ments, be prepared and directed to the Roman Catholic clergy and 
laity of Ireland, and conveying such further instruction as existing 
circumstances may seem to require.' " 5 

5 As the Veto question is only mentioned incidentally in O'Connell's 
history, we shall not enter into this subject. It is one which would 
merit careful consideration, but such consideration would require more 
space thai? can be given to it in the present work. 

It is sufficient to observe that, though a few of the Irish bishops were 
at first disposed to favour it, they opposed it eventually with a steady 
resolution, which saved the Catholic Church in this country, and in 
Great Britain, from a danger which was not the less to be apprehended^ 
because it was deeply insidious. Dr Lanigan, the great Irish ecclesi- 
asti lal historian, was one of the most energetic and successful opposera 
of this scheme. 


The Irish Catholic hierarchy, with a trusting confidence 
irbich was honourable to them, however misplaced, had long 
believed that to protest and solemnly declare their loyalty 
would insure a belief in it. They had at last begun to 
learn that men who did not believe their word would be 
equally unwilling to believe their oath. They had learned 
that a dignified statement of loyalty, or of their intentions, 
was the best policy. They began to see that all these 
demands for securities were mere excuses, the excuses of 
those who wished to evade granting justice ; first by asking 
securities against dangers which existed only in their own 
imagination, then by refusing the securities, no matter what 
solemn pledges might be made of their authenticity. 

That the one object of the Veto was to wean the Catholic 
clergy from the Holy See, is plainly evident from the 
private correspondence of the times. The great complaint 
against the Irish priesthood was its devotion to Rome. 
The Veto was to undermine their loyalty, and was to secure 
devotion to English interests as a substitution for devotion 
to the chair of Peter. Of course, something should be 
offered in return, and Emancipation was proposed. It is to 
be feared that, if the Veto had been agreed upon, Emanci- 
pation would have been refused. 6 

The Protestant Bishop of Meath wrote on this subject to 

• The English Government, who had the nomination of the bishops 
for the Protestant Church in Ireland, took care that their nominees 
should be all English, 


Lord Castlereagh in November 1800. A few extracts from 
ili is letter will show the objects avowedly contemplated : — 

M First, The Catholic clergy were to be made more independent of 
the people, and the bishops were to be brought into contact with the 
Government, — 'So early as the year 1782, 1 entertained the idea of 
the policy and necessity of making an established provision for the 
Roman Catholic clergy, that would make them independent of their 
people. I necessarily connected this measure with that of bringing 
their bishops more in contact with the Government, and giving the 
Castle an interference and influence in their appointment.' 

" Secondly, Care was to be taken, and a plan arranged, with what 
would have been called Jesuitical skill and duplicity, and the 
plan emanated from a Catholic bishop, that the priest should be so 
educated as to be made as English as possible, not only in politica 
but in religion — ' In France, Spain, and the Low Countries, the 
superiors of the different seminaries for the English, Scotch, and 
Irish Missions, as they expressed it, were always natives of those 
kingdoms; but they were persons exactly of the description which 
Government must ever consider as disqualified for such situations 
— persons exclusively devoted to the See of Home, educated in all 
the principles, and therefore certain to inculcate and teach all 
the principles, that militate most against the civil authority in every 
country, and particularly tainted with all the prejudices against our 
establishment and our constitution, which an education in countries 
hostile to both cannot fail to inspire.' 

" Thirdly, No priest was to be allowed to officiate in Ireland 
unless he was educated at Maynooth under Government control 
and supervision ; for those educated in foreign seminaries would 
be more Roman, and the ' foreign priest would not fail to reproach 
the Maynooth priest as half a heretic, as a Government instead of 
a Roman priest ! ,7 

" Fourthly, The doctrines taught at Maynooth were to be such aa 

Castlereagh Correspondence, vol. iii. 



the EDglish Government shall approve. The legis'ators of the day 
were quite indifferent to points of doctrine ; the Protestant parson or 
the Catholic priest might teach what they pleased on such subjects; 
but Caesar's interests were to be looked after very carefully. They 
were ordered to be the first object ; for the rest it mattered little." 

The Protestant Bishop of Meath had very distinct and 
very practical ideas on this subject. He was by no means 
unjust or unfair to the Catholic clergy; he would allow them 
to teach what they pleased, so long as they taught submis- 
sion to the Government. He seems to have been an honest, 
honourable man with one idea. Why could not these men 
do as lie did? — why could not these men teach as he taught? 
The king or Government, as the case might be, was the 
head of his Church, and the ultimate source of his doctrine. 
Those men who would not act as he did, were either stupid 
or perverse, in which case he pitied them; but he was be- 
yond his age in liberality, and he would not persecute or 
suggest persecution. 8 

8 " Great precautions should be taken against any doctrines being 
taught in the College that might militate against or undermine the 
establishment, or the constitution and government of the country." 

The doctrine taught by the Catholic clergy did not concern the Pro- 
tectant bishop, except in so far as it interfered with what he considered 
"loyalty." The whole letter, mutatis mutandis, is curiously like a 
chr.rge given by the Bishop of Ely on the 20th July 1872, on the Bennett 
judgment, in which he says, " that the (Protestant) Church allows a fair 
liberty of prophesying, but that ritual and ceremonial must be ' some- 
what exact.' " In fact, so long as there was an attempt at exterior con- 
formity, their interior conformity mattered very little. It is curious to 
observe the similarity of opinion, or shall we say indifference to " doc- 
trine," between the bishop of 1800 and the bishop of L872. 


On tlie 5th January 1811, a meeting was held for the 
purpose of " appointing proper persons in aid of the Earl 
of Fingal, for tlie charge of the petition to England." 

O'Connell. practical as usual, informed the committee 
thai considerable progress had been made in the investiga- 
tion of the existing penal laws, and the oppressive conse- 
quences resulting therefrom. As the statement occupied 
nearly three hundred folio pages, it would not, from its 
voluminous nature, be perfectly ready for their inspection 
before Saturday next. Notice would then be given to have 
it printed, in order to place it in the hands of the members 
of both Houses ; and it would be a subject of consideration 
with the committee, whether the statement should be 
confined to the members of Parliament alone, or obtain a 
more general publicity. He had no hesitation in saying that, 
in his opinion, the preferable mode would be to have it 
published in the usual manner, in order that the people of 
the United Kingdom might be enabled to entertain no 
doubt whatever on the subject ; for it has been said that 
the people suffer not from any actual or positive oppres- 
sion, but because they are told so. He had no difficulty in 
saying that this was an evil they ought to encounter, and 
the importance of informing every person in England of 
the real condition of the Catholics, should supersede any 
fastidious notions of delicacy or forbearance. 

O'Connell was always anxious for publicity; he had no 
idea of concealment, and certainly was far beyond his age 



in his policy. Hitherto concealment had been necessary, 
and cautious language had been advisable. It needed a 
man like the Liberator to break down the barriers which 
were no longer necessary, but which were preserved, or at- 
tempted to be preserved, by those who thought more of their 
own safety than the public good. 

It was at this period that O'Connell made a speech in 
which he spoke freely of English ignorance of Irish affairs. 
Speaking of the writers in the Edinburgh Review, he 
said : — 

■ I differ from them on the subject of the Veto, .and would 
undertake to convince any of them that 1 am right. I also easily 
see myself amongst those whom they style 'bombastic counsellors/ 
and 1 smile to see how happily they have described that fustian and 
rant, which I am in the habit, as at present, of obtruding upon 
your meetings. But, notwithstanding this attack, which I admit to 
be personal, I do most sincerely and cordially thank them for their 
exertions. It is not in the nature of popular feeling to continue 
long its gratitude; but I have no hesitation in saying, that the 
Catholics of Ireland deserve to be slaves, if they ever forget what 
they owe to the writers of that article. Let me, however, repeat 
jyy regret, that its effects should have been weakened by the erro- 
neous view which those writers took of our situation. It is strange 
enough, that when they contributed so considerably to the repeal of 
the s'ave trade, they were found to be perfectly conversant with the 
savage tribes of Raarta and Bambana ; and that they were able to 
give dissertations on the police of the barbaric cities of Sego and 
Timbuctoo, and yet are so deplorably ignorant of the condition of 
the white slaves of Ireland. We have another excellent advocate in 
England — an advocate whom we could bribe only one way, with the 
justice of our cause — I mean William Cobbett. It is truly hnpor- 



taut to us that his exertions should not be paralysed by ignorancfl 
<if our wants. The moment we can show him the extent of our 
oppressions, we furnish him with materials to ensure our triumph — 
and it must be admitted that we could not have a more useful advo- 
cate. When he is right, he is irresistible; there is a strength and 
clearness in the way he puts every topic ; lie is at once so convinc- 
ing, and yet so familiar, that the dullest can understand, and even 
tlie bigot must be convinced. But what has deservedly raised him 
high in public estimation is the manly candour with which lie avows 
and retracts any opinion that he discovers to be erroneous." 

Perl) caps the characteristic we should most admire at 
this period of 0' Council's career, was his uncompromising 
honesty. He knew the faults of his countrymen, he was 
far too keen-sighted not to see them ; but many a man, both 
before his time and since, has seen them, and has not dared 
to denounce them. Disunion, the curse of Ireland and of 
Irish politics, threatened the extinction of the Catholic 
body, when it was working successfully; and O'Connell, at 
the risk of his rising prosperity, set himself not only to 
make peace, hut to denounce this fatal error. 

" The old curse of the Catholics is, I fear, about to be renewed ; 
division, that made us what we are and keeps us so, is again to 
rear its standard amongst us; but it was thus always with the Irish 
Catholics. I recollect that in reading the life of the great Duke of 
Ormond, as he is called, I was forcibly struck with a despatch of 
his, transmitted about the year 1GG1, when he was Lord-Lieutenant 
of Ireland. It was written to vindicate himself from a charge of 
having favoured the Papists, and having given them permission to 
hold a public meeting in Dublin. His answer is remarkable. He 
rejects with disdain the foul calumny of being a favourer of Papists, 
though he admits he gave them leave to meet : ' because,' said he, 


'I know by experience, that the Irish Papists never meet without 
dividing and degrading themselves.' I quote the words of the 
official despatch ; I can lay my finger on the very spot in 1 Carte's 
Life of Ormond.'" 

"One hundred and fifty years have since elapsed, and we are 
still in thraldom, because no experience can, I fear, cure us of this 
wretched disposition to divide. He entreated of the respectable 
gentlemen who that day attended the committee, to consider that 
their mistakes, if they had made any, ought not to be visited with so 
grievous a calamity as that of creating dissension amongst them." 

The truth was, that the Government were beginning to 
bribe the upper class of Catholics who were members of 
the Association, and it is said that some of those gentle- 
men had been tampered with seriously. 

O'Connell himself dated his position as leader of the 
Catholic party from the year 1810. When speaking of 
this subject to Mr Daunt, he said — 

"In 1810, the corporation of Dublin met at the Royal Exchange 
to petition for the Repeal of the Union. John Keogh attended the 
meeting and made a speech. I also spoke in support of the Repeal, 
and thenceforth, do I date my great lift in popularity. Keogh saw 
that I was calculated to become a leader. He subsequently tried to 
impress me with his own policy respecting Catholic affairs. The 
course he then recommended was a sullen quiescence; he urged that 
the Catholics should abstain altogether from agitation, and he 
laboured hard to bring me to adopt his views. But I saw that 
agitation was our only available weapon ; I saw that incessantly 
keeping our demands and our grievances before the public and the 
Government, we must sooner or later succeed. Moreover, that 
period above all others was not one at which our legitimate weapon, 
agitation, could have prudently been let to rust. It was during the 
war, and while Napoleon — that splendid madman — made the 


Catholics of Ireland so essential to the military defence of the 
empire ; the time seemed peculiarly appropriate to press our claims. 
About that period a great Catholic meeting was held. John Keogh 
was then old and infirm ; but his presence was eagerly desired, and 
the meeting awaited his arrival with patient good humour. I and 
another were deputed to request his attendance. John Keogh had 
this peculiarity — that when he was waited on about matters of 
business, he would talk away on ail sorts of subjects except the busi- 
ness which had brought his visitors ; accordingly, he talked a great 
deal about everything but Catholic politics for the greater portion 
of our visit; and when at length we pressed him to accompany ua 
to the meeting, the worthy old man harangued us for a quarter of 
an hour to demonstrate the impolicy of publicly assembling at all, 
and ended by coming to the meeting. lie drew up a resolution 
which denounced the continued agitation of the Catholic question at 
that time. This resolution, proceeding as it did from a tried old 
leader, was carried. I then rose and proposed a counter resolution, 
pledging us all to incessant, unrelaxing agitation ; and such were 
the wiseacres with whom I had to deal, that they passed my reso- 
lution in the midst of enthusiastic acclamations, without once dream- 
ing that it ran directly counter to John Keogh's ! Thenceforward, I 
may say, I was the leader. Keogh called at my house some short 
time after; he paid me many compliments, and repeated his im- 
portunities that I might alter my policy. But I was inexorable ; 
my course was resolved upon and taken. I refused to yield. He 
departed in bad humour, and I never saw him afterwards. 

" Keogh was undoubtedly useful in his day. But he was one 
who would rather that the cause should fail, than that anybody 
but himself should have the honour of carrying it. 

"He and his coadjutors made a mistake in 1793. He was a 
member of a deputation, consisting altogether of five persons, wkc 
had an interview with Pitt and Dundas on the subject of the 
Catholic claims. Pitt asked, ' What would satisfy the Catholics?' 
Keogh replied, 'Equality.' Pitt seemed inclined to comply with 


the wishes of the deputation, but Dundas started several objections. 
Pitt then said, 1 Would you be satisfied with the bar, the elective 
franchise, and eligibility to the municipalities?' Keogli replied, 
■They would be great boons.' Pitt immediately pinned him to 
that, and would concede no uiurft." 

Chapter §tk\\i\ 



}HE Orange Lodges bad never 

ceased their activity since the 

Rebellion of 1798, and some 
i 7 

members of these lodges were guilty 
of acts of singular cruelty. 

O'Connell took care to make those 
outrages public, and certainly the conduct of 
some individuals connected with this body was a 
disgrace to humanity. Harmless and innocect 
i> children, helpless and infirm women, were but 
too frequently the objects of their wicked veo- 
^» — ^ geance. On the 12th of July 1808, they shot down 
a } oor idiot, known as Jack of the Roads. w>w> h*«] 



made a bet that he would run from Dublin to Limerick, 
keeping pace with the mail. The bet was fourpence and 
a pint of porter. As he passed through Mountrath on his 
return, he was foolish enough to flourish a green bough at 
a party of Orangemen. One of them fired at his face ; his 
eyes were destroyed, and they left him to die in torment by 
the road side. 

In Dublin they attacked some poor people, who had 
made a bonfire and danced round St Kevin's fountain 
with garlands, and shot them down like dogs. At Newry, 
eighteen men crept round a party who were enjoying 
themselves on the eve of St John the Baptist by lighting 
bonfires, and shot them down in cold blood. All this 
passed unpunished; but if Catholics had been the guilty 
individuals, there would have been a cry from one end of 
England to the other for vengeance. 

But this was not all. At the very time when Irish sol- 
diers were dying by hundreds for the defence of England, 
when the peninsula of Spain was reeking with their life- 
blood, they were not only refused the consolations of their 
religion, but were cruelly punished if they even dared 
to ask for them. It was no wonder that they should have 
little love of the upper classes of their Catholic fellow- 
countrymen, who, content with their own spiritual advan- 
tages, troubled themselves but little for those whose soula 
were equally precious in the sight of their Creator. It was 
"° wonder that these poor men looked up with all tb» 



reverence of their being to the man who stood up boldly to 
proclaim their rights, to ask why they should be excepted 
from the benefits of such religious liberty as the Govern- 
ment of the day permitted. 8 

On the 1st December 1810, O'Connell brought this sub- 
ject before the Catholic committee. We quote his speech 
from the files of the Dublin Evening Pest of that date : — 

44 Sir, I rise in pursuance of the notice which I gave at our last 
meeting, for the purpose of stating such information as I have 
received, respecting the illegal persecution of an Irish Catholic 
soldier of the militia. And, sir, in my humble judgment, we should 
be guilty of a dereliction of duty to our feilow-couutrymen, if we 
suffered the perpetrators of the offence, which I am about to state, 
to go unpunished. 

44 1 conceive we are called on by every social feeling as Catholics 
and as Irishmen, to drag the bigoted delinquents, whatever may be 
their exalted rank in life, not only before an enlightened public, 
but before a court of criminal jurisdiction. 

44 The facts, as reported to me, are shortly these : — A Roman 
Catholic private soldier, belonging to a certain regiment of militia, 
for no other offence than for attending at chapel to discharge those 
religious duties which he, in common with all mankind, owed to 


had actually, like a common convict, proceeded so far on his passage 
into exile as the Isle of Wight. 

• Patrick Spence, a Catholic private in the Dublin militia, was re- 
quired to attend the Protestant service. He refused, and was at once 
conveyed to the black hole. He then wrote a respectful expostulation 
to his commanding officer ; for this he was tried, by court martial, and 
sentenced to receive 099 lashes. The barbarous sentence was in the 
act of execution v hen he was offered the choice of an exchange into a 
condemned regiment, which he accepted. 


u Sir, there are two courses left for us to adopt in this case ; the 
first, is to bring the facts, in whatever shape may be thought ad- 
visable, before the House of Commons ; the second, to have the 
busiii ess investigated in a court of law, and disposed of by the 
verdict of a jury. That the law, as it now exists, is sufficiently 
strong to punish the persons guilty of the crime, there can be no 
doubt. I shall therefore move that our secretary, Mr E. Hay, do 
open a subscription for the purpose of defraying the expense of 
having the matter fully investigated; and that a sub-committee, 
consisting of five, be appointed to inquire into the truth of the 
facts, and to report to the general committee." 

The motion was seconded by Mr Hussey, and Mr Coyle 
called the attention of the meeting to the injustice 
done to the Catholics in Roscommon and Fermanagh, 
where a Catholic was not even allowed to hold the situation 
of a non-commissioned officer. The colonel of the Ferma- 
nagh regiment obliged every officer to take the Orange oath 
— a most cruel injustice. 

A great deal has been said and written by Protestants 
about the persecuting spirit of the Catholic Church, yet 
they have curiously overlooked the bitter and relentless 
persecutions of their own Church. At this very period a 
Catholic Church was robbed by some Orangemen, and 
though the robbery was clearly proved, the jury being also 
Orangemen, refused to convict; more than probably because 
they considered robbery under such circumstances as no 
sin. 1 Well might Mr O'Connell say, when speaking of the 

1 Counsellor Kernan, a Fermanagh gentleman, was appealed to at 
this meeting to give information on the subject ; he said :— 



necessity for proposing a compilation of the penal laws, 
that Englishmen might know the grievances from which 
Ireland had long suffered, that " from the unfortunate 
temper of the times, and the unhappy code of laws which 
prevailed on these subjects, a jury might possibly be found 
to strain the law to the worst purposes." 2 

O'Connell visited Limerick on circuit during the summer 
of the year 1810. The admirable sketch taken of him in 
the Court house on this occasion will be found at the head 
of this chapter. It is the only early likeness of O'ConnelJ 
in existence. The features express more intelligence than 

"Sir, I am not competent to say (because I am ignorant of the fact) 
whether the private soldiers of the Fermanagh regiment, professing 
the Catholic religion, are prevented by the Earl of Enniskillen from 
exerting their religious duties — I should hope the fact is otherwise. 

" With respect to the circumstance of the scandalous outrage com- 
mitted in the Chapel of Enniskillen, the trial had been published in all 
the newspapers of this city ; and, to such persons as had read the report, it 
is unnecessary for me to state more than this fact ; namely, that at the trial 
there was sufficient evidence produced on the part of the Crown to convict 
the traverser, and that the verdict of acquittal was, therefore, not only 
contrary to evidence, but to the charge of Mr Justice Fletcher, the learned 
judge who presided. 

" It -was not singular in that county, that the jury who tried the 
officer consisted of Protestants — there being but two instances, as I am 
informed, since the Revolution, of Catholics serving as jurors at the 
assizes of Enniskillen." — Dublin Morning Post, December 15, 1810. 

2 From his speech at the Catholic Committee, 15th December 1810. — 
Dublin Evening Post. 

All the extracts from newspapers given in this work are taken from 
the original source, a very large collection having been placed in my 
hands through the kindness of friends. 



power, yet we can trace indications of the more massive 

expression which developed itself in after life. 8 

O'Connell was fond of relating his adventures when on 

circuit ; and as he seldom lost sight of a joke, or failed to 

see one, his repertory of stories was sufficiently amusing. 

He would tell in after life of the "good old times " — good 

as far as the comfort of easy travelling was concerned, when 

a journey was to a great extent a pleasure. At such times, 

too, he could unburden himself of professional cares ; and 

for a man who worked as he did, such relaxation must have 

been both necessary and enjoyable. 

'"In 1780/ he used to say, 'the two members for the county 
Kerry, when preparing to visit Dublin, sent to the metropolis for 
a noddy. The noddy took eight days to get to Kerry, and they, 
when seated in it, took seventeen days to get to Dublin ! Each 
night the two members, owing to the absence of inns, quartered 
themselves at the house of some friend ; and on the seventeenth 
day they reached Dublin, just in time for the opening of the ses- 

" Speaking of the inn at Mill Street, he said : — The improved 
roads have injured that inn. I well remember when it was the 
regular end of the first day's journey from Tralee. It was a com- 
fortable thing for a social pair of fellow-travellers to get out of 
their chaise at night-fall, and to find at the inn (it was then kept 
by a cousin of mine, a Mrs Cotter) a roaring fire in a clean, welb 
furnished parlour, the whitest table-linen, the best beef, the sweetest 
and tenderest mutton, the fattest fowl, the most excellent winea 

3 This likeness was taken by Mr Gubbins, an artist still living at th* 
advanced age of 85. I am indebted to Mr Lenihan, author of th« 
" History of Limerick," for the original, which is in his possession. 



(claret and Madeira were the high wines there — they knew no- 
thing about champagne), and the most comfortable beds. In my 
early days it was by far the best inn in Minister. But the new 
roads enabled travellers to get far beyond Mill Street in a day ; and 
the inn, being therefore less frequented than of old, is, of course, not 
so well looked after by its present proprietor. 

There was the Coach and Horses Inn at Assolas, in the county 
Clare, close to the bridge,' said O'Connell. 1 What delicious claret 
they had there ! It is levelled with the ground these many years. 
Then, there was that inn at Maryborough ; how often have I seen 
the old trooper who kept it smoking his pipe on the stone bench at 
the door, and his fat old wife sitting opposite him. They kept a 
right good house. She inherited the inn from her father and mother, 
and was early trained up to the business. She was an only child, 
and had displeased her parents by a runaway match with a private 
dragoon. However, they soon relented and received her and her 
husband into favour. The worthy trooper took charge of the stable 
department, for which his habits well adapted him ; and the in-door 
business was admirably managed by his wife. Then, there was that 
inn at Naas, most comfortably kept — and excellent wine. I re- 
member stopping to dine there one day, posting up from the 
Limerick assizes. There were three of us in the chaise, and one was 
tipsy ; his eyes were bloodshot and his features swollen from hard 
drinking on the previous night, besides which he had tippled a little 
in the morning. As he got out of the chaise, I called him 1 Parson!' 
to the evident delight of a Methodist preacher, who was haranguing 
a crowd in the street, and who deemed his own merits enhanced by 
the contrast with a sottish minister of the Establishment.' " 

On one occasion as he travelled from Ashbourne to 
Dublin, some objects of antiquity which Grose 4 had 

4 This is the Captain Grose of whom Burns wrote— 
"A duel's aiming you takin' notes, 
And, faith, lie'il prent 'em." 


illustrated, recalled that antiquary to the Liberator's 
mind : — 

" 1 Grose,' said he, * came to Ireland full of strong prejudices 
against the people, but they gave way beneath the influence of Irish 
drollery. He was very much teazed, when walking through the 
Dublin markets, by the butchers besetting him for his custom. At 
last lie got angry, and told them all to go about their business ; 
when a sly, waggish butcher, deliberately surveying Grose's tat, 
ruddy face and corpulent person, said to him, ' Well, plaze your 
honour, I won't ask you to buy since it puts your honour in a 
passion. But I'll tell you how you'll sarve me.' ' How 1 ' inquired 
Grose in a gruff growl. 4 Just tell all your friends that its Larry 
HefFernan that supplies your honour with mate, and never fear I'll 
have custom enough.' " 

Passing through Nenagh, he said — 

li Some years ago, when this neighbourhood was much infested 
with robbers, I was travelling on circuit. My horses were not very 
good, and just at this spot I saw a man whose movements excited 
my suspicions. He slowly crossed the road, about twenty yards in 
advance of my carriage, and awaited my approach with his back 
against the wall, and his hand in the breast of his coat, as if ready 
to draw a pistol. I felt certain I should be attacked, so I held my 
pistol ready to fire, its barrel resting on the carriage door. The 
man did not stir, and so escaped. Had he but raised his hand, I 
should have fired. Good God ! what a miserable guilty wretch I 
should have been ! How sincerely I thank God for my escape from 
such guilt ! " 

We find O'Connell in Limerick again in August 1813, 
and engaged in " an affair of honour." While occupied 
in professional business, he got into an altercation with 
Counsellor Magrath, which, according to the custom of the 



day. should be settled by pistols. The combatants met in 
the old court-mill field, the usual resort in such cases. Mr 
O'Gorman was O'Connell's second, and Mr Bennet was 
second to Mr Magrath. Mr Be-nnet stepped the ground 
by mutual consent; but at the last moment a party of 
gentlemen came on the ground to make peace, or, if peact 
could not be made, to see the fight out. Peace was made 
eventually. Magrath declared himself sorry for what had 
occurred, and OVonnell declared he bore no enmity to 
Magrath. The two gentlemen then shook hands, and drove 
back to the city in the same carriage, conversing. 

Possibly it never occurred to any of the party how very 
different the end might have been. 

OTonnelTs fame as a barrister was now increasing 
daily.* In the autumn assizes of 1 S 1 3, twenty-six cases 
were tried in Limerick Court-house, and he held a brief 
each case. His professional career was a series of suc- 
cesses ; and it is no wonder that it was considered a favour 
when he accepted a retainer. 

One case in which he was engaged at this period wa^ 
painfully characteristic of the times. O'Connell's address 
to the judge, when moving for a conditional order against 

5 Sir Joshua Earrington thus describes O'Connell's appearance at this 
period, in his not very veracious " Personal Sketches,'' voL ii. p. 452. 
"O'Connell at that day was a large, ruddy, young man, with a most 
Ravage lialect, an imperturbable countenance, intrepid address, etprretered 
uikil? Sir Joshua w as not gifted with much discrimination >f charac- 
ter, or he would not have written the last sentence, 



the magistrates concerned in the affair, will sufficiently 
explain the circumstances. 

''The facts of the case," lie said, "are really curious, and would 
be merely ludicrous but for the sufferings inflicted on my client. 
The affidavits stated that a peasant girl named Hennessey had a 
hen which laid — not golden eggs, but eggs strangely marked with 
red lines and figures. She, on the 21st April 1813, brought her 
hen and eggs to the town of Koscrea, near which she lived, and of 
which the defendant was the Protestant curate. It appeared by 
the result that she brought her eggs to a bad market, though at first 
she had some reason to think differently ; for the curiosity excited 
by those eggs attracted some attention to the owner ; and as she 
was the child of parents who were miserably poor, her wardrobe was 
in such a state that she might almost literally be said to be clothed 
in nakedness. My lord, a small subscription to buy her a petticoat 
was suggested by the person who makes the present affidavit, him- 
self a working weaver of the town, James Murphy, and the sum of 
fifteen shillings was speedily collected. It was a little fortune to 
the poor creature ; she kissed her hen, thanked her benefactors, and 
with a light heart started on her return home. But diis aliter 
visum ; at that moment two constables arrived with a warrant signed 
by the Rev. William Hamilton. This warrant charged her with the 
strange offence of a foul imposition. It would appear as if it were 
issued in some wretched jest arising from the sound, not the sense. 
But it proved no joke to the girl, for she was arrested. Her hen, 
her eggs, and her fifteen shillings were taken into custody, and car- 
ried before his Worship. He was not at leisure to try the case that 
day. The girl was committed to Bridewell, where she lay a close 
prisoner for twenty-four hours, when his Bev. Worship was pleased 
to dispose of the matter. Without the mockery of any trial, he 
proceeded at once to sentence. He sentenced the girl to perpetual 
banishment from Boscrea. He sent her out of the town guarded 
by three constables, and with positive injunctions never to set foot 
M it again. He decapitated her hen with his own sacred handft 

" COy Til A R Y TO GOOD MA yy ERS." 323 

He broke the eggs and confiscated the fifteen shillings. When the 
girl returned to her home — the fowl dead, the eggs broken, and tha 
fifteen shillings in bis reverence's pocket, one would suppose justice 
quite satisfied. But no ! his Worship discovered that Murphy had 
collected the offending money ; he was therefore to be punished. 
He was, indeed, first tried — but under what law, think you ? Why, 
literally, my lords, under the statute of good manners. Yes, under 
that act, wherever it is to be found, was Murphy tried, convicted, 
and sentenced. He was committed to Bridewell, where he lay for 
three days. The committal states ' that he was charged on oath 
with having assisted in a foul imposition on public credulity — con- 
trary to good manners.' These are the words of the committal ; and 
he was ordered to be detained until he should give security — 1 for 
his good behaviour.' Such is the ridiculous warrant on which an 
humble man has been deprived of his liberty for three days. Such 
are the details given of the vexatious proceedings of the reverend 
magistrate. It was to be hoped that those details would turn out 
to be imaginary ; but they are sworn to — positively sworn to — and 
require investigation, the more especially as- motives of a highly 
culpable nature were attributed — he (O'Connell) hoped unduly 
attributed — to the gentleman. He was charged on oath with hav- 
ing been actuated by malice towards this wretched girl because she 
was a Catholic. It was sworn that his object was to establish some 
charge of superstition against her, upon no better ground than this — 
that one of those eggs had a mark on it nearly resembling a cross." 

The rule was granted, but Mr Hamilton compromised 
the case, in consequence of the public exposure of his con- 

One of 0' Council's best reported and most brilliant 
speeches was made at Limerick, while he was on circuit 
in 1812. The meeting was held at the Commercial Build- 
ings, George's Street. T. R. Ryan, of Scarteen, Esq., waa 



in the chair, and the meeting was opened with a speech 
from Mr William Eoche, the same gentleman who repre- 
sented the city of Limerick, on Bepeal principles, from the 
Passing of the Reform Bill until 1841. After expressing 
general concurrence with the proceedings of the Catholic 
Board in Dublin, confident hope of the success of the 
cause in the next session of Parliament, gratitude to its 
friends in that body, and aversion to the idea of what were 
called " securities " being given in return for Catholic 
emancipation, he read the resolutions that had been pre- 
pared, and moved their adoption. 

CTConnell then rose amid thunders of applause, and 
spoke for more than an hour. The following are some of 
the most striking passages in his address : — 

" We owe it to the liberality of the Irish Protestants, to the zeal 
of the Irish Presbyterians, to the friendly exertion of the Irish 
Quakers ; we owe, to the cordial re-union of every sect and denomi- 
nation of Irish Christians, the progress of our cause. They have 
procured for us the solemn and distinct promise and pledge of the 
House of Commons — they almost obtained for us a similar declara- 
tion from the House of Lords. It was lost by the petty majority 
of one • it was lost by a majority, not of those who listened to the 
absurd prosings of Lord Eldon, to the bigoted and turbid declama- 
tion of that English Chief-Justice, whose sentiments so forcibly 
recall the memory of the Star Chamber ; not of those who were able 
to compare the vapid or violent folly of the one party, with the 
statesman-like sentiments, the profound arguments, the splendid 
eloquence of the Marquis Wellesley." 

He then denounced, in scathing and indignant language, 



the deliberate lie which Lord Castlereagh had uttered in 
the House of Commons, that no torture had been used in 
Ireland in the years 1797 and 179S. His hearers knew 
but too well how utterly false this statement was, but it 
answered the purpose for which it was uttered ; it silenced 
or satisfied the indignation of such Englishmen as were 
sufficiently humane to dislike this mode of government. 
Who, indeed, would believe any assertion made to the 
contrary, even by the nation, when a noble lord had spoken 
on the subject? And in our own time, the bold assertion 
of an unscrupulous politician is not unfrequently taken in 
evidence by those who prefer to believe a lie. 

In conclusion, O'Connell spoke on the all-important 
subject of the representation of the city ; and for the first 
time we find the idea thrown out openly of offering himself 
as a parliamentary representative: — 

" You deserve not freedom — you, citizens of Limerick, with the 
monuments of the valour of your ancestors around you — you are less 
than men, if my feeble tongue be requisite to rouse you into activity. 
Your city is, at present, nearly a close borough ; do but will it, and 
you make it free ! 

" I know legal obstacles have been thrown in your way. I know 
that, for months past, the Recorder has sat alone at the sessions — ■ 
that he lias not only tried cases, in the absence of any other magis- 
trate, which he is authorised by law to do, but that he has solely 
opened and adjourned the sessions, which, in my opinion, he is 
clearly unwarranted in doing ; he has, by this means, I know, de- 
layed the registry of your freeholds, because two magistrates are 
necessary for that purpose : I have, however, the satisfaction to tell 
you, that the Court of King's Bench will, in the next term, havn to 


determine on the legality of his conduct, and of that of the other 
charter magistrates, who have banished themselves, I understand, 
from the Sessions' Court, since the registry has been spoken of! 
They shall be served with the regular notices : and, depend upon it, 
this scheme cannot long retard you. 

" I speak to you on this subject as a lawyer — you can best judge 
in what estimation my opinion is amongst you; but such as it is, I 
pledge it to you, that you can easily obviate the present obstacles to 
the registry of your freeholds. I can only assure you that the con- 
stitution of your city is perfectly free — that the sons of freemen, and 
all those who have served an apprenticeship to a freeman, are all 
entitled to their freedom, and to vote for the representation of your 

" I can tell you more : that if you bring your candidate to a poll, 
your adversary will be deprived of any aid from non-resident or 
occasional freemen ; we will strike off his list the freemen from Gort 
and from Galway, the freemen from the band, and many from the 
battalion of the city of Limerick militia. 

In short, the opening of the borough is a matter of little 
difficulty. If you will but form a committee, and collect funds, 
in your opulent city, yoii will soon have a representative ready 
to obey your voice — you cannot want a, candidate. If the 
Emancipation Bill passes next session, as it is so likely to do, 
and that no other candidate offers, I myself will bring your pre- 
sent number to the poll. I, probably, will have little chance of 
success — but I will have the satisfaction of showing this city and 
( the country what the free-born mind might achieve if it were pro 
perly seconded." 

O'Connell was always singularly happy in his allusions 
to public events and circumstances. There are many men 
who can allude to the passing topics of the day in their 
public speeches, but there are few who can point their allu- 
sions like O'Connell. We find a remarkable instance of 



this felicity of expression and of application at the con- 
clusiou of this eloquent address. 

Irish soldiers were at that time protecting the liberty of 
England, and but fur Irish soldiers England would have 
been, for a time certainly, if not permanently, conquered 
by French valour. O'Conuell said, " I wish to see the 
strength of this island — this unconquered, this uncon- 
querable island — combined to resist the mighty foe of 
freedom, the extinguisher of civil liberty, who rules the 
Continent from St Petersburg to the verge of the Irish 
bayonets in Spain." 

Those who know Dublin need not be reminded that 
Merrion Square was, and is, one of its most fashionable 
residences. O'Conneli's professional advancement had 
already justified him in establishing himself there ; and 
in June 1811, we find him replying from thence to an 
address which was sent to him from Dingle. As it was 
one of the earliest, if not the very first, of the addresses 
ever presented to him, we insert it here. 

The address was adopted at a meeting described as of 
" the clergy, gentlemen, magistrates, and freeholders of the 
town and vicinity of Dingle, held in that town on the loth 
day of June 1811, in pursuance of public requisition, 
Mathew Moriarty, Esq., in the chair," and was as fol- 
lows : — 

" To Daxil:l O'Coxxell, Esq. 
" Sir, — We, the gentlemen, clerjy, magistrates, and freeholder* 



of the town and vicinity of Dingle, assembled pursuant to a public 
requisition, desire to express to you our sense of your unwearied 
exertions in advocating the cause of our Catholic countrymen. 

" We are particularly anxious to convey to you our decided ap- 
probation of the manliness, candour, and. perspicuity with which 
you have, at the aggregate meeting of the Catholics of Ireland, 
held in Dublin on the 28th ultimo, developed the tendency of the 
intended transfer of our militia, and displayed the machinations of 
those deluded men who style themselves Orangemen and Purplemen. 

" We anticipate from your exertion of talent and constitutional 
firmness the most beneficial consequences ; as that exertion has, we 
trust, roused to the consideration of these subjects every individual 
who feels interested in the welfare of the country, from the prince 
to the freeholder. 

"Your object is the same as ours; to prevent internal feuds and 
animosities, which have been hitherto so injurious to our unfortunate 
country; and to promote that unanimity which can alone save and 
exalt those realms. 

" We request of you to accept our most cordial thanks as a small 
tribute of merit pre-eminently resplendent on every occasion. 

" And be assured that it has made an indelible impression on us j 
who repose a pleasing confidence in your exertions, disregarding 
and despising party feeling, and looking to the cause of our native 
country, equally dear to us all. 

" Signed, by order, 

" Edward Fitzgerald, Secretary. 

"Dingle, June \5th, 1811." 

Mr O'Connell's reply was in the following terms :— 
" Gentlemen, — Your address has surprised me almost as much 
as it has pleased me. I cannot but owe it to your friendship, that 
you have noticed so humble an individual. I am proud of your 


" The principle on which I have been, and am an advocate of 
Catholic Emancipation, is not confined to Ireland. It embraces the 



cause of the Dissenters in England, and of the Protestants in the 
Spanish and Portuguese territories. I need extend it no further. 
The crime of intolerance is now confined among Christian nations — 
almost exclusively to England and her allies. Arbitrary as the 
military ruler of the French may be, .and enemy as he is of civil 
and religious liberty, he has had too much common sense to commit 
the useless and absurd injustice of violating conscience. 

" For my part, I hate the inquisition as much as I do the Orange 
and Purple system, and for the same reason. The man who attempts 
to interfere between his fellow-man and his Deity is, to my mind, 
the most guilty of criminals. 

"■ JTou call our country unfortunate. She is unfortunate through 
the dissension of her children ; dissension has degraded her charac- 
ter, and annihilated her constitution. 

" In the name of religion, of charity, hate and rancour have been 
disseminated ; but a brighter era, I trust, approaches. And now it 
is the sacred duty of every man, who is faithful to his king and 
attached to the independence of his native land, to contribute his 
best exertions to extinguish every cause of animosity and pretence 
for disunion. — -I have the honour to be, with great respect, your 
deeply indebted and faithful servant, 

" Daniel O'Connell. 

"Mzbriok Square, June 17tk, 1S11." 

On the 7th of May 1811, a dinner was given by the 
leading- Catholics to some of their Protestant friends. The 
Ehort speech made by O'Connell on that occasion was fully 
reported, and we give it unabridged. At a time when a 
Catholic Archbishop' not nnfrequently presides, and very 

* In the Standard for July we find a report of a meeting of the Inter- 
national Union Congress, in the Middle Temple Hall, at which Arch- 
bishop Manning took the chair. There were some remarks made by 
his Grace on this occasion which singularly resemble the tone and spirit 


frequently assists at Protestant meetings, we may well 
recall with regret the statement of O'Connell, that this 
was " Hie first time when Catholic and Protestants publicly 
assembled at the festive board." 

" Major Bryan proposed the health of Sir James Eiddall, whose 
absence, he regretted, was from indisposition. To this toast was 
added, at Counsellor CConnell's suggestion, 'The Eepeal of the 
Union.' " Counsellor O'Connell — 1 Gentlemen, when I proposed that 
a Repeal of the Union should be coupled with the name of that virtu- 
ous patriot and friend to his country, Sir James Eiddall, I was fully 
impressed that it is the only real Irish question ; and, allow me to 
Bay, that every Catholic in this meeting must regret the absence of 
that worthy Irishman, and the more so, as I understand it is occa- 
sioned by severe illness. If in this assembly any Irishman hears me 
who h is mistaken the true interests of his country (as Ave all are 
liable ^o err), and approved of that fatal law, the act of Legislative 
Unior, this is a glorious opportunity for us to speak our sentiments, 
and, by deprecating so disastrous a measure, convince him that there 
is but one opinion on the subject in Ireland. This, I believe, is the 
first time Catholics and Protestants have publicly assembled at tka 

of O'Connell's speech at the first public dinner of Catholics and Pro- 
testants. The Archbishop said : — 

" Before we thank Dr Bellows for the fertile, eloquent, and condensed 
address which he has delivered, I will ask you to bear with me for a 
moment, as I am irresistibly impelled to make one or two remarks. In 
mentioning those Avho have exercised an apostleship of charity in the 
work of mitigating prison discipline, it would not be right to forget the 
name of Elizabeth Fry. Our lecturer has given us examples of two of 
those, great energies, those masculine activities (Howard and Wesley), 
which laboured to reform and purify the morals of men in the last 
century ; but the action of Mrs Fry was like the light of heaven and 
the dew fertilizing the earth, silent, irresistible, penetrating, and effica- 
cious, even beyond the power of energy." 



festive board — alas ! the first time we have sought access to each 
other's hearts. If such meetings shall frequently take plav.e, and I 
trust in God they will, it is impossible that your great and ancient 
nation — your nation famed for every physical good which can make 
existence valuable, and which has given birth to the best and bravest 
of the human race — it is impossible, I say, that any minister can 
tyrannise over you, or any foe eii'ect your subjugation. If the spirit 
shall go abroad which pervades this meeting, is it too much to ex- 
pect that your enfranchisement is at hand, that your parliament 
must be restored 1 As it is the habit of men who follow my trade 
to talk much, you may, perhaps, fear that I trespass on your atten- 
tion ; but I shall be brief. A bigot — be he of what profession he 
may, whether Catholic or Protestant ; of what rank soever, whether 
monarch, peer, or peasant ; whether his brow is encircled with a 
diadem, or his body enveloped with rags — is a bigot to me. Louis 
XIV. disgracefully treated a brave and skilful warrior, Admiral 
Duchene, because he was a Protestant ; and Louis XIV. was, there- 
fore, an outrageous bigot. Our gracious prince, who is the parent of 
his Irish people, has given an earnest of what we may expect from 
him, by refusing to comply with the corrupt requisition of a minister; 
he will unite us, and thereby have, instead of one regiment of his 
own Irish, an entire nation.' " 

Vigorous efforts were made by Government to suppress 
the Catholic Association at the close of the year 1811; but 
O'Connell had inspired a spirit and vigour into the nation 
which was not easily repressed. 

On the 12th February 1811, the signal of attack was 
6ounded by Mr Wellesley Pole, who issued a circular letter 
to the sheriffs and chief magistrates, in which the Catholic 
Committee was denounced as " an unlawful assembly sit- 
ting in Dublin." They were required — 


" In pursuance of the provisions of an Act of the 33rd of George 
IV., C. 29, to cause to be arrested and commit to prison (unless bail 
shall be given) all persons within your jurisdiction who shall be guilty 
of giving, or having given or published, any written or other notice of 
icction or appointment in any manner of such representative, 
delegate, or manager as aforesaid ; or of attending, voting, or acting, 
or of having attended, voted, or acted in any manner in the choice 
or appointment of such representative, delegate, or manager ; and 
you are to communicate these directions, as far as lies in your power, 
forthwith to the several magistrates of the said county." 

The Lord Chancellor said " the language was put to- 
gether in a slovenly manner," but Government proclama- 
tions do not always bear literary criticism. Mr Pole — or, 
to speak more correctly, his master, Mr Perceval — meant 
action, and gave a very significant hint to that effect by 
sending a paper to each person to whom this letter was 
forwarded, entitled, u Some Observations and Extracts 
concerning Arrests of Criminals." The " Observations, 
Extracts," &c, concluded with this passage: — 

"As at thistime the attention of magistrates must naturally be chiefly 
turned to cases of a seditious nature, some extracts from the several 
Acts of Parliament made, relative to such offences, are herewith sent." 

The first collision took place on the 23d of February, 
when Alderman Darley and Mr Babington presented them- 
selves at the meeting. 

Lord Ffrench was called to the chair, and Alderman 
Darley at once announced his purpose : — 

" My lord, we are come as magistrates of the district to 



inquire whether the persons present compose the Catholic 
Committee ?" 

A long discussion ensued. Lord Ffrench would not com- 
mit himself, and demanded Alderman Darley's authority. 
Alderman Darley fell back on Government, and hoped the 
meeting " would he so good" as to disperse quietly. 

Mr Lidwell,a Protestant gentleman, declared he would not 
leave the room unless removed by the strong hand of power. 

Lord Ffrench begged to be allowed the honour of being 
the last man to leave the room, and declared he " had his 
night-cap in his pocket, and did not care where he went." 

After much discussion, Mr Darley was despatched to Mr 
Pole for positive instructions, and Mr Babington remained 
in custody of the meeting, and the meeting in custody of 
Mr Babington. 

Mr Pole performed a series of legal somersaults. He 
sent back his unhappy deputy with a polite message, say- 
ing that he would be happy to see Lord Ffrench, but Lord 
Ffrench refused to visit him alone. Mr Darley then, act- 
ing on orders, deliberately denied any intention of dis- 
persing the meeting, if they had only assembled to petition 
Parliament ; although he had stated, on his first appear- 
ance, and in pursuance of hi3 first orders, that he " had 
been ordered and directed by Government to request them 
to disperse, be their business what it may." 

Mr AVellesley Pole then endeavoured, with more tact 
than honesty, to make it appear that the Catholic Com- 


mil Ice had asked for an interview with him, the reverse 
be ins: the fact. 

On llie 8th of March the Catholics went to offer an 
address to the Prince of Wales, now regent; hut in tills 
address they took care to express their disapprobation of 
the policy of Mr Perceval, who was the unvarying enemy 
of Catholics. The following gentlemen were to present the 
address: — Earls Shrewsbury, Fingal, and Kenmare ; Vis- 
counts Gormanstown, Netterville, and Southwell; Lords 
Trimleston and Ffrench ; Sirs Thomas Esmond, Edward 
Bellew, Hugh O'Reilly, Thomas Burke, and Francis Goold, 
Barts. ; Major-General O'Farrell ; Colonel Burke ; Messrs 
G. Bryan, R. M'Donnell, D. O'Connell, J. Keogh, Owen 
O'Connor, M. Donnellan, Edward Corbally, T. Wynne, 
J. Burke, Wm. C'oppinger, Ambrose J. Roche, Edward 
Murphy, B. W. O'Reilly, George Browne, E. Taafle, D. 
Caul field. 

O'Connell made two speeches at this meeting, from which 
we give the following extracts :• — 

" I shall not consume the time of this meeting by entering into 
an explanation of our motives for presenting the address ; and I 
feel it would be a reproach to adduce any argument to justify a 
measure so anxiously wished for by the Catholics of Ireland. We 
owe it to his Royal Highness to express, with heartfelt gratitude, our 
unfeigned thanks for the many favours and benefits conferred on us 
by his revered father, to whom we are perhaps indebted for the pri- 
vilege of meeting here this day. Here Mr O'Connell took a sum- 
mary view of the political state and incapacities of the Catholics at 



the accession of his Majesty to the throne, when, he said, they 
were excluded from every situation of trust, honour, and emolument — 
when the then existing laws sanctioned the breach of every honour- 
able principle — when there was hardly a grievance or degradation 
that man could be subject to, that the laws did not inflict on the 
Catholics of Ireland. Thus stood the abominable code at the period 
of his Majesty's accession, and such hardships and slavery did 
it impose, that the mind cannot contemplate it without recoiling 
with horror and disgust. By adverting to this period of our his- 
tory, he did not wish to excite religious distinctions ; he did not 
wish to rekindle hatred and animosity among his countrymen ; his 
motives were widely different : they were to lay before the meet- 
ing the obligations we owed to his Majesty for the many privi- 
leges which the Catholics at present enjoy. . . . He lamented 
that, through the misguided folly of our rulers, the country had 
already suffered too much. It had been involved in deep calamity 
ever since the baneful measure of Union had been forced upon dis- 
tracted Ireland. At that calamitous period the argument made use 
of by the Parliament of England, for withholding from the Prince 
his undoubted right, was, that by appointing him Regent, they pre- 
ferred him to William Pitt. The offence given to the Ministry of 
the present times seems to be, that the people prefer his Royal High- 
ness to the usurper, Perceval. It is observable that the moment 
the Regent was appointed, W. W. Pole set off f.-r Ireland, to misre- 
present the Catholics and excite discord. He (Mr Pole) seemed to 
fear that in the liberal mind of the Prince something would be 
found that would drive faction out of its fastness. He took the 
most decisive measures that his little mind could suggest. Although 
a general committee of the Catholics of Ireland had been established 
for almost eighty years, he had the audacity to issue his proclama- 
tion, declaring that it was an illegal assembly, and that the meeting 
was guilty of a high misdemeanour. He thus thought proper to 
pronounce sentence without going to trial ; without the interposition 
of any judge. He said he acted under the advice of a judge, vho is 
not a native of ihis couutiy, ;ind who is, therefore, ignorant of the 



Irish character. He admitted that the judge was an accomplished 
gentleman and an able lawyer, but Irishmen would not submit to 
be ruled by special pleadings and English technicality. But to 
return to the subject of the letter. It appears that it was the 
first act of liis Royal Highness's government in Ireland. It was 
the ill-advised measure of William Wellesley Pole, the secretary 
of nil ages. We know it could not have emanated from his 
Royal Highness. As for Wellesley Pole, he was first secretary to the 
King, then to the usurping protector, and then to the Eegent ; but 
his first act was for the purpose of putting up the Orange party, and 
dividing Irishmen ; but this was not the act of the Prince ; his con- 
fidential friends' conduct, in both Houses of Parliament, is a sure 
pledge that what appeared as the first act of his regency was un- 
known to him. The Earl of Moira had disavowed the act, and he 
was not only a friend to his country, but he was the friend of his 
Prince. He could not speak in terms strong enough of the noble 
exertions of that great man in behalf of his country ; he was the 
true patriot, not like the men who might vote for the Catholic 
petition. He would disavow them, as they voted at the side of 
Perceval against their Prince. One member for the county he had 
belonged to had done so, and he hoped yet to meet him on the 
hustings to express the contempt he felt for such conduct. How 
different was the conduct of the other member of that county ; he 
would not mention him by name, but his grateful country felt his 
worth — the Knight of Kerry." 7 

O'Connell's second speech was called forth by a declara- 
tion which arose relative to an amendment condemnatory 

7 What Mr Perceval's opinion and policy was, is sufficiently evident 
from the not very elegantly-expressed epistle addressed to Lord Eldon, 
25th July 1811 : — " I should be prepared to advise a prosecution against 
eueh an illegal assembly, even if I had more doubts as to its illegality, 
because I feel assured that if the Irish Government is to be upheld at 
all, such an assembly nosing it in its metropolis cannot be endured ; and 



of the Duke of Richmond, then Lord-Lieutenant. It was 
proposed by Major Bryan, and was opposed on the ground 
of inexpediency. After some discussion the motion was 
carried in a modified form. It prayed for inquiry into the 
circumstances connected with Mr Pole's circular letter, 
and prayed that Mr Pole might be dismissed, if no justi- 
fication could be found, as well as the Duke of Richmond. 
It was certainly a bold step, the boldest ever yet taken by 
Irish Catholics. Hitherto they had submitted in silence to 
every oppression, to every attempt made to forbid their 
calling for justice ; for such was the mode of government 
in Ireland, that it was forbidden even to petition against a 
grievance, or for the removal of a disability. It was no 
wonder that the growing independence of the nation 
startled narrow-minded statesmen, who were enthusiastic 
admirers of liberty everywhere except at home. 

Mr Perceval's line of argument was curious, but not 
altogether without precedent in modern times. First he 
6aid he would be prepared to advise a prosecution, because 
the assembly was illegal ; then he said he would equally 
order it, even if he had only "doubts " as to its illegality; 
and then he declared he would not have these men — men who 

that the prosecution will bring the question to a fair issue ; for, if the 
law is not at present strong enough to prevent it, it must be made so. And 
I have no doubt that if we take our measures wisely (that is, upon full 
proof that the assembly is truly revolutionary, however its title may be 
disguised), Parliament will see the necessity of putting it down." — 
Twtis's Life of Lord Eldon. 



were many of them of the first families in Ireland — " nosing 
it," whatever that might mean, in the Dublin metropolis; 
then he said that the prosecution would bring the question to 
a " fair issue," and what a fair issue means when Government 
is on one side and the Irish people on the other, is tolerably 
well known even at the present day ; finally, by way of 
exordium, he came to the real pith and marrow of the 
matter, and declared that, if the affair was not illegal, which 
he manifestly doubted, then it must be made illegal. This 
plan of making a law to make an act illegal, after the act 
had been accomplished, was exceedingly convenient, if it 
was not strictly just. Mr Perceval's politics being such, it 
would scarcely be expected that the Irish Catholic nobility 
and gentlemen, who were the objects of his peculiar mode 
of legislation, should be very ardent admirers of his policy. 
In his second speech O'Connell said : — 

" I declare, most unaffectedly, that my feelings are much inter- 
ested in the fate of this question. On the one hand, if the motion 
shall pass, it is to be feared that some of our best friends may take 
offence at it; on the other, should it not be acceded to, it may 
encourage a supposition that we are prepared to submit to every 
species of insult without expressing our just indignation. A noble 
lord and two other gentlemen have spoken against it, whose hosti- 
lity to any measure, in a Catholic meeting, must be considered as 
almost fatal to that measure ; but in this case it will be forgotten, 
at a future day, what course of argument they pursued, when their 
opposition to the measure will be remembered. No gentleman has, 
however, thought of praising Mr Pole, although some eulogised the 
Lord-Lieutenant ; none has been so bold as to attempt that which 



would rack and exhaust invention to make it palatable. Xo, sir ; 
it has been found necessary to squander the public money in pur- 
chasing the labours of hireling prints, and their depraved parasites* 
to bestow diplomatic wisdom on Mr Pole, and military skill on the 
redoubtable Lord Wellington. 8 .... Any man who could accept 
offices under a Perceval Ministry cannot be friendly to your eman- 
cipation. The Duke of Richmond came here as a military lord- 
lieutenant, ami I suppose Mr Pole as a military secretary, expecting, 
in all probability, that a display of their talents might at some time 
be essential, and particularly amongst the Catholics, as if we could be 
hostile to an army composed entirely of such. The career of his 
Excellency's life has been a harmless one ; he is fond of amusement 

8 O'Connell was no great admirer of the Iron Duke. In the first 
place, he believed that he encouraged the Orange faction for political 
purposes ; in the second place, he despised him for his declaration, that 
the only misfortune of his life was his being an Irishman ; and he de- 
served to be despised for it. O'Connell spoke thus of him to Mr Daunt: 
— " I have two faults to find with him — one is, that I never yet heard 
of his promoting any person in the army from mere merit, unless backed 
by some interest ; the second fault is, that he lias declared that the only 
misfortune of his life is his being an Irishman. There is a meanness, 
a paltriness in this, incompatible with greatness of soul. But abstract- 
edly from sentiment, he may be right enough ; for, great as his popu- 
larity and power have been in England, I have no doubt they would 
have been infinitely greater if he had been an Englishman. John 
Bull's adoration would have been even more intense and devoted if the 
idol had not been a Paddy." 

On another occasion O'Connell said that he had in his possession an 
original letter of the Duke of Wellington's eldest brother, Marquis 
Wellesley, addressed to Mr Mockler of Trim, in reply to an applica- 
tion which Mockler had made to the writer (who was then Earl of 
Mornington) to procure a commission in the army for his son. The 
brother of the future victor of Waterloo apologises to Mockler for his 
inability to assist him, saying, " that commissions were so hard to be 
got, that his brother Arthur's name had been two years upon tiu: list, 
and he had not yet got an appointment" 



and the convivial circle ; but I am not sure that the qualities are such 
as the government of Ireland needs at this moment, and I defy his 
panegyrists to produce any others. It has been said that the Orange- 
men are put down, but what proof have we for it ? I have been 
informed that a new Orange constitution has been framed within 
the last eighteen months ; if this be true, to what a state will not 
this country be again reduced. Nothing can be more deplorable 
than any association which has a tendency to divide Irishmen. 
5Tes, there is to us one thing more deplorable ; and that is any 
measure which may create division among Catholics." 

lie concluded by an earnest appeal to Catholics not to 
divide on matters of little importance. " Sir," he ex- 
claimed, " what a victory it will be to your enemies to put 
one Catholic name against another when you divide." To 
promote union amongst all classes of Irishmen was one of 
the great objects of O'ConnelPs life ; but he desired, 
above all, to promote union between Catholics. His mind 
was sufficiently large to grasp the difficulties and misap- 
prehensions of others. He knew perhaps better than any 
man living then, and perhaps better than any man who 
has lived since, how fatally Catholic principles, both reli- 
gious and political, are compromised by dissensions. 

Those who are without the pale of the Church cannot 
understand the political divisions of those who are one in 
faith. A little more consideration, or a little less pre- 
judice, might show how these divisions, so far from derogat- 
ing- from unity of faith on religious subjects, rather enhance 
it ; but it is difficult to find men entirely free from prejudice, 
or of sufficiently comprehensive intellect to understand 


the intellectual peculiarities of others. Men who would 
have gone to the stake or the scaffold together joyfully 
for the faith, because it was one, would not perhaps salute 
each other on the street because they had political dif- 

This explains what appears phenomenal to Protestants ; 
and it explains why, when the faith is attacked, men who 
have been hitherto disunited, unite at once in its defence. 

The Catholics were left unmolested for a time ; but an- 
other attempt was made to dissolve the Catholic Commit- 
tee at the close of the year. It was, as we have said, the 
great effort of Government. A meeting was held on the 
9th of July in Fishamble Street Theatre, at which Lord 
Fingal took the chair. 

The following were some of the resolutions then pro- 
posed : — 

"That being impressed with an unalterable conviction of its being 
the undoubted right of every man to worship bis Creator according 
to the genuine dictates of his own conscience, we deem it our duty, 
publicly and solemnly, to declare our decided opinion and principle, 
that no Government can, with justice, inflict any pains, penalty, or 
privation upon any man for professing that form of Christian faith 
which he, in his conscience, believes. 

" That we shall, therefore, persevere in petitioning the Legislature 
for a total and unqualified repeal of the penal laws, which aggrieve 
and degrade the Catholics of Ireland. 

*' That in exercising this undoubted right by petitioning, we shall 
continue to adhere to the ancient principles of the constitution, and 
to conform also to the peculiar restrictions which, by modern 
Statutes, are imposed on the people of Ireland." 



Lt was but the echo of the cry which had been uttered 
for so many hundred years in Ireland — " Freedom to wor- 
ship God." When the demand was pealed forth in the 
harmonious numbers of a poet's verse, it called forth tears 
of sympathy. It was very much admired when chanted 
by the " Pilgrim Fathers," but when it was uttered across 
the channel, it was sternly silenced. 

Proceedings were commenced against several of the 
gentlemen who had attended the meeting, but the meet- 
ing was perfectly legal, and after a trial, which lasted two 
days, Dr Sheridan, who was first arraigned, was acquitted. 
This was a triumph to the Catholic party, who were long 
accustomed to verdicts which were certainly not founded 
on evidence. 

An attempt was then made to bring an action against 
Chief- Justice Downes, who had signed the warrant for the 
arrest of this gentleman, but it was wisely permitted to 
drop. The whole question had turned on a word in the 
Convention Act. Catholics were forbidden to assemble 
" under pretence of petitioning," the real object being to 
prevent Catholics from meeting in public, as a body, for 
any purpose whatsoever. The Catholic Committee were 
meeting for the purpose of petitioning, as every one knew— 
none better than their enemy, Mr Perceval ; but it answered 
the purpose of the prosecution to declare that they did not 
mean what they said. And then he asserted that a pur* 
pose, as well as a pretence, was implied by the Act, 


though the Act did not say so; and the Crown counsel 
was not a little disappointed when the traverser was 

But the Government were not satisfied, and at a meet- 
ing held immediately after the acquittal of Dr Sheridan, 
Lord Fingal was forcibly ejected from the chair. The 
proceedings were thus reported in the Freeman's Journal: — 

" A few minutes before twelve o'clock yesterday, Counsellor 
Hare, a police magistrate, entered the theatre, Fisliamble Street, 
where the Catholic Committee were assembled, and took his station 
beside the chair which was prepared for the reception of Lord 

" At two minutes after twelve his lordship arrived ; and, upon 
the motion of Counsellor Hussey. seconded by Counsellor O'Connell, 
he was called to the chair. 

''Mr Hare was about to address Lord Fingal, when Lord Netter- 
ville stood up, and moved that the Catholic petition be now read, 
which was seconded by Counsellor O'Gorman. 

u Mr Hare now addressed himself to Lord Fingal, evidently with 
a determination to prevent the reading of the petit ion, and persevered 
until he had accomplished this object. 

"Mr Hare. — My Lord Fingal, I beg to state what my object is 
in coming to this meeting. As chairman of this meeting, I have to 
inform you. that I come here, as a magistrate of the city of Dublin, 
by direction* Cj the Lord-Lieutenant (his Excellency having been 
informed that this is a meeting of the Catholic Committee, com- 
posed of the peers, prelates, country gentlemen, and the persons 

B " The law pronounces every Catholic to be faithless, disloyal, un- 
principled, and disposed to equivocate upon his oath until he shall have 
repelled this presumption by his sworn evidence [and even then he wai 
seldom believed] in public court." — Ftnal Laws, p. 



chosen in the different parishes of Dublin). I beg to ask you, aa 
chairman of this meeting, if that be the case, and what is your 

object ? 

" Lord Fingal. — Sir, we have met here for a legal and constitu- 
tional purpose. 

" Mr Hare. — Allow me to observe, that that is not an answer to 
my question ; — perhaps you did not distinctly hear me. I ask, is 
it a meeting of the Catholic Committee, composed of the peers, pre- 
lates, country gentlemen, and others in the city of Dublin % 

"Lord Fingal. — I certainly do not feel myself bound to give you 
any other answer. We are met for the sole legal and constitutional 
purpose of petitioning. 

" Mr Hare. — My Lord, I ask you, as chairman of this meeting, in 
what capacity are you met ? 

" Lord Fingal.— We are met for the purpose of petitioning Par- 

" Mr Hare. — My Lord, that is not an answer to my question. I 
speak deliberately and distinctly, in order that every person may 
hear and understand me. (Here some little confusion occurred, 
owing to several persons speaking together.) Mr Hare. — I hope 
I have leave to speak. (' Hear the magistrate,* from several per- 
sons.) I beg leave to ask your lordship again, is it a meeting of the 
Catholic Committee, constituted by the Catholic peers, prelates, 
country gentlemen, and the persons appointed in the different 
parishes of Dublin ? 

" Lord Fingal.— I am not aware that I can give you any other 
answer than that which I have already given. 

" Mr Hare. — Then, my Lord, your answer is, that you are a meet- 
ing of Catholics, assembled for a legal and constitutional purpose % 

" From several voices. — No, no ; there was no answer given in 
such terms. 

" Counsellor O'Connell.— It is a most unusual thing for any 
magistrate to come into a public meeting to catechise, ask questions, 
and put his own construction upon the answers. 



"Mr Hare. — My Lord, am I to understand that you decline 
answering me fully what meeting you are, and the purpose of your 
meeting I 

"Lord FingaL — We are met for a legal and constitutional 

" Mr Hare. — I wish to be distinctly understood : I have 
addressed your lordship explicitly two or three times. Am I to 
understand that you will give no other answer to my question ? Do 
you give no other answer ? (Here some confusion arose, in conse- 
quence of several persons speaking together — some crying out to 
have the petition read, others calling on Mr Hay, and others re- 
quiring silence for the purpose of hearing Counsellor Hare.) 

" Mr Hare. — My Lord Fingal, I addressed myself to you so dis- 
tinctly, that I thought my question could not be mistaken. I con- 
sider your declining to give me a direct answer, as an admission that 
this is the committee of the Catholics of Ireland. 

"Counsellor O'Connell — I beg leave to say, that as what passes 
here may be given in evidence, the magistrate has received a distinct 
answer to his question ; and it is not for him to distort any answer 
he has received into a meaning of his own — he is to take words in 
their literal signification. 

" Mr Hare. — My Lord, I consider your refusing to give any other 
answer as an admission of the fact of this being a Catholic Com- 

"Counsellor O'Connell. — Sir, if you please to tell gentlemen such 
k your belief, it is of no consequence to us : we are not to be bound 
by your opinion. 

M Mr Hare. — This is an admission of the fact that this is the 
Catholic Committee ; and I consider your lordship's refusal 

" (Here the meeting was interrupted by the confusion incidental 
to a number of persons speaking together.) 

" Mr Hare. — Does your lordship deny that this is the Catholic 
Committee ] 

" Counsellor Finn. — No, no : my Lord Fingal has not given you 
either admission or denial 


" Counsellor O'Connell. — We do not want the gentleman's assist* 
ance to make out meanings for us. Let him not imagine that the 
character of this meeting can be affected, or that he can bind thia 
meeting, by any assertion he thinks proper to make. 

"Mr Hare. — Then I repeat that your lordship's refusal to give 
me a direct answer is an admission that this meeting is the Catholic 
Committee, and, as such, it is an unlawful assembly. 

k ' Counsellor O'Connell. — Mr Hare is now speaking in his magis- 
terial capacity, therefore, whatever he says give it attention. 

" Mr Hare. — My Lord, I say that this is an unlawful assembly, 
and, as such, I require it to disperse. I beg leave to say, that it ia 
my wish to discharge my duty in as mild a manner as. possible. I 
hope that no resistance -will be offered, and that I need not have re- 
course to those means with which I am entrusted for the purpose of 
causing the meeting to disperse. 

" Lord Fingal. — It is not our intention to do anything improper, 
or to act in resistance to the laws of the land ; but it is my deter- 
mination not to leave the chair until I am obliged by some person 
to do so, in order that I may bring my legal action against the 
person who shall remove me. 

" Mr Hare. — My lord, I shall remove you out of the chair ; and 
in doing so, it will be an actual arrest. 

" Here, as might be naturally expected, some confusion arose, in 
consequence of a noise in the gallery, which, we are informed, waa 
occasioned by police constables. 

" Mr Hare.— My Lord, if you'll have the goodness to leave the 
chair, that is a legal arrest. 

" He then took Lord Fingal by the arm and gently pushed him 
from the chair. 

" On the motion of Counsellor 0' Gorman, seconded by Dr Luby, 
Lord Netterville was immediately called to the chair, from which he 
was removed by Counsellor Hare, in the same way that he had put 
Lord Fingal out of it. 

" There was then a universal cry for Lord Ffrench to take the 
chair. His lordship, who was in a bad state of health, either had 


not arrived, or was not within hearing of those who culled him to 
the chair. 

u The Hon. Mr Barn wall was then called to the chair ; but before 
he had taken it, Lord Ffrench had arrived, and was proceeding to 
his post, when, at the recommendation of Sir Edward Bellew, and 
at half-past twelve o'clock, the meeting dispersed. 

11 After the Catholic meeting had been dispersed in Fishamble 
Street, a number of gentlemen repaired to Mr D'Arcy's, the Crown 
and Anchor Tavern, Earl Street, for the purpose of signing a requi- 
eition to call an aggregate meeting of the Catholics of Ireland. 
While the requisition was preparing, Counsellor Hare, accompanied 
by Alderman Darley, went into the room where they were assembled, 
and asked whether that meeting was a meeting of individual gentle- 
men. Being answered in the affirmative, and being about to make a 
speech, Lord Ffrench told him they did not want to hear any of his 
speeches, nor would they listen to them ; if he came there for the 
purpose of acting, that he must proceed without delay. 

M Mr Hare said that he merely wished to say, that as they had 
acknowledged themselves to be a meeting of individual gentlemen, he 
would not molest them." 

"A Catholic requisition, for an aggregate meeting, to be held on 
Thursday next, at the Theatre, Fishamble Street, has been drawn up 
and signed by upwards of three hundred persons. 

" We have just learned that Lord Fingal interrogated the police 
magistrates after the dispersion of the committee, if he was to pro- 
cure bail to their arrest, and that they deny having arrested him/" 

Although news did not travel with telegraphic speed at 
that period, the dispersion of the meeting, and LordFingal's 
arrest, was soon known through the country. It was known 
also in many English cities, where the truth was told by the 
poet Shelley, who was present at the meeting. There were 


Englishmen even then, 1 as there are, thank God, still, and 
happily their number is increasing, who are capable of 
viewing Irish subjects from a just stand-point, who do not 
form their opinions on the illogical basis that everything 
English must be right, and everything Irish wrong. 

When Grattan presented the Catholic petition on the 31st 
of May 1811, he did his best, in one of his noblest and ablest 
speeches, to convince English senators that it was possible 
for them to err. He told them that they expected "the 
Author of the universe to subvert His laws, to ratify their 
statutes ; " God had commanded us to revere our parents, 
English law commanded and encouraged the Irish son to 
claim his father's estate. " The decalogue said, 6 Do not 

1 Shelley wrote " Proposals for an Association of Philanthropists," for 
the amelioration of Ireland. He said — " It is my opinion that the claims 
of the Catholic inhabitants of Ireland, if gained to-morrow, would in a 
very small degree aggrandise their liberty or happiness. The disquali- 
fications principally affect the higher orders of the Catholic persuasion ; 
these would chiefly be benefited by their removal. Power and wealth 
do not benefit, but injure the cause of freedom and virtue. I am happy, 
however, at the near approach of this emancipation, because I am inimical 
to all disqualifications for opinion. It will not add one comfort to the 
cottager — will snatch not one from the dark dungeon — will root out not 
one vice- alleviate not one pang. Yet it is a foreground of a picture in 
the dimness of whose distance I behold the lion lie down with the 
lamb, and the infant play with the basilisk ; for it supposes the extermi- 
nation of the eyeless monster— bigotry, whose throne has tottered for 
20D years. I hear the teeth of the palsied beldam Superstition chatter, 
and I see her descending to the grave. Reason points to the open gates 
of th« temple of religious freedom ; philanthropy kneels at the altar of 
the common God. 1 regard the admission of the Catholic claims, and 
the Repeal of the Union Act as blossoms of that fruit, which the summei 


steal,' the law, as made for Ireland, proclaimed full per- 
mission to rob a Catholic." 

English law cruelly oppressed the Irish nation, yet 
English law continued to oppress it " under the vain 
assurance that Providence would work a miracle in the 
constitution of human nature, and dispose it to repay 
injustice with affection, and oppression with cordial sup- 

The Irishman was to be eminently loyal, but he was not 
to have the benefit of law ; he was to be an ardent up- 
holder of the constitution, but he was not to be upheld by 
it; he was to rally round the throne when it was in 
danger, but he was never to see the face of the sovereign. 

sun of improved intellect and progressive virtue are destined to mature. 
I will not pass -without reflection the Legislative Union between Great 
Britain and Ireland ; nor will I speak of it as a grievance so tolerable 
or unimportant in its nature as that of Catholic disqualification. The 
latter affects few, the Union affects thousands ; the one disqualifies 
the rich from power, the other impoverishes the peasant, adds beggary 
to the city, famine to the country, multiplies abjectness, whilst misery 
and crime play into each others hands under its withering auspices. 1 
esteem, then, the annihilation of this second grievance as something 
more than a mere sign of good. I esteem it to be in itself a substantial 
benefit. The aristocracy of Ireland (much as I disapprove of other dis- 
tinctions than those of virtue and talent, I consider it useless, hasty, and 
violent not for the present to acquiesce in their continuance) — the aiis- 
tocracy }f Ireland suck the veins of its inhabitants, and consume that 
blood in England." 

If we did not know the power of prejudice in transmuting ideas, it 
would seem wonderful, and almost incomprehensible, how persons with 
ordinary common sense could fail to see the real cause of Irish poverty 
and Irish discontent. 


A tithe of justice was flung to him now and then, politi- 
cal or religious, as might be most convenient or least in- 
convenient to those who made the laws which they expect 
him to revere; and when he got this tithe, pitiful as it 
was, lie was expected to break forth into paaans of praise 
and thanksgiving for the generosity of his master. If 
those thanksgivings are not uttered, he is pointed out as 
a monster of ingratitude ; if he suggests that he has only 
obtained a small instalment of justice, that justice is 
justice, and that he would like to have a little more of it, 
he is told that, as he is not thankful for what has been given 
to him, he does not deserve more. 

When O'Connell went on circuit in January 1812, he 
tried to rouse up the spirit of the country. His presence 
was, indeed, looked for in each of the southern towns 
which he visited as a signal for public action. He was 
always specially welcomed in Limerick. On his first pro- 
fessional visit to that city in 1798, the late Mr James 
Blackwell, then gaoler of the city prison, retained his 
services for some of the criminals, and it is said his first 
actual practice at the bar was there. 

During his visit to Limerick, O'Connell made the 
acquaintance of a well-known Franciscan friar, Father Dan 
Hogan. The Franciscans had been always remarkable for 
erecting bell-towers, and the good friar was no exception to 
the general devotion of his order in Ireland. But at this 
time the penal laws forbade Catholics even the use of an 



ordinary bell. 1 Father Dan, however, was determined to 
have a bell, and consulted (VConnell as to how the 
matter could be arranged without violating the law. It 
was precisely the kind of subject in which O'Connell took 
the warmest interest. He told Father Hogan that lie might 
erect a cupola at the gable of his own house and have a bell 
there, and the friar was not long in carrying out the plan. 

* " Limerick : its History and Antiquities" by Maurice Lenihan, Esq., 
J.P.M.R.T.A., page 420. This is a work of great value and importance, 
and should be in even' library. We give some extracts from a letter 
written by Sir Arthur Wellesley to Brigadier-General Lee, on the state 
of Limerick in 1808. This shows how thoroughly he understood 
the country. The letter is dated Cork, 7th July 1808. It com- 
mences by explaining the duties of a general officer commanding a 
district in Ireland, and shows how entirely the country was under 
military government. " In the first place, the situation of a general 
officer commanding a district in Ireland is very much of the nature of 
a deputy-governor of a county or a province. . . . The Government must 
depend in his reports and opinions for the adoption of many measures 
relating solely to the civil administration of the country. It is the duty 
of every government officer to make himself acquainted with the local 
circumstances of his district, and with the characters of the different 
inuividuals residing within it." He then proceeds to warn his corres- 
pondent of "certain circumstances which exist in nearly all parts of 
Ireland." These "certain circumstances " were, that Government was 
constantly deceived by representations about the state of the country, 
which were partially oi wholly false ; that the desire to " let a building 
for a barrack" the "desire to have troops in the country," the "desire to 
have the yeomen called out frequently," occasioned representations of 
disturbances which did not exist, or which only existed in a very alight 
degree. L'pon these occasions "letter after letter " was written to the 
Government demanding troops. He had recommended examining 
witnesses on oath, but admitted that this remedy was not always 
effectual, "I'ur it frequently happened that the information on oath waa 



On the 1st of June 1809, the citizens of Limerick heard a 
bell calling them to mass for the first time within the 
memory of that generation ; yet so great was the fear of 
Catholics lest they should bring down vengeance on their 
heads, that a second bell was not erected until 1814, when 
one was put up in the then parochial chapel of St John. 

On the 6th of July 1812 ? there was an enthusiastic 
meeting of Catholics in the Commercial Buildings, Lime* 
rick, at which O'Connell spoke 

" The occurrences of the present day strongly recall to my mind 
a former period of Ireland's misfortune ; and that grave of Irish 
prosperity, the Legislative Union, gapes before my eyes with all ita 
sepulchral horrors ! 

equally false with the original representations." All this was pleasant 
for Brigadier-General Lee. There was, however, one satisfactory conclu- 
sion. His duty was plain. The poor people, " who committed outrages 
and disturbances, might have reason to complain," but this was not a 
subject of consideration for the general officer ; he must " support the law, 
and whoever broke the law must be considered in the wrong." This line 
of action was simple, and saved a good deal of trouble. He adds, " What- 
ever may have been the nature of the provocation he may have received,"— 
a man might be shot down like a dog by an Orangeman, his family might 
consider that as the law would not punish the Orangemen they might 
themselves do so ; but no, they were to submit, and be thankful that they 
were not all shot. " Provisions," continues Sir Arthur, " might be too 
dear, rent too high, and the magistrate? might not do their duty as they 
ought to the poor;" no matter, the landlords were to go free, the magis- 
trates were to pass uncensured, but the poor, God help them! " were to 
be brought to justice." This was the advice given ou mature delibera- 
tion by the future Duke of Wellington, as he was about to set forth on 
an expedition to free the continent of Europe from the "iron rule" of 



■ It is a circumstance, well known to every reflecting mind, that 
the unhappy dissensions, which rent the country asunder, might 
have been suppressed at the beginning, did not that statesman, 
called ' lite great man, now no more,' think them essentially necessary 
$0 bring about his favourite political project, the union of both 

11 He watched the evil in its progress and maturity, and when the 
malignant poison of disaffection had mixed with the blood of the 
people, he awoke, as it were, from a dream, and was alive to all the 
horrors of the disease. It then became necessary to have resort to 
strong and desperate measures ; and before the country had recovered 
from the shock of civil animosities, while the sorrows of the past 
had fixed the mind, and rendered it careless for the future, the 
Uuion was proposed, and the Union was carried ! " 

These observations were received with unbounded ap- 
plause. In Cork he also addressed a meeting. Mr Entas 
M'Donnel moved a vote of thanks to him in these words : — 

" That the thanks of the Catholics of the county and city of Cork 
are most eminently due, and most gratefully given, to the indepen- 
dent and indefatigable advocate of Irish rights — Daniel O'Connell, 
Esq. — as well for the brilliant exertions he has uniformly made in 
support and advancement of the Catholic cause, as for the un- 
daunted and patriotic spirit with which he ha«i defended, at all 
times and in ail places, the Catholic character against its calumnia- 
tors, high and low." 

It might be supposed that such a resolution would be 
passed by acclamation ; yet such was the state of the 
Catholic body, such the fears of exciting the jealousy of 
those who were its least useful, though most obstructive 
members, that it was considered wise to let the reso- 
lution drop. 




R E L A ND always was, and 
we suppose always will be, 
the grand battle-ground of 
English administrations. If 
Ireland shall ever become 
politically an integral por- 
tion of the British Empire, if a time shall ever 
arrive when there will be no Irish question, 
honourable members in Opposition would be 
surely at a loss to find another happy hunting- 
ground for political grievances. Such a state 
of things would be only regretted by those who, 
consciously or unconsciously, bring forward 
Irish grievances fur political purposes. In 



England a change of Ministry makes f nt litile difference 
to the vast multitude of the population. Now and then a 
great national interest stirs up the B luSS ish blood of tl,e 
miner or the farm-labourer, the comfor table husbandman, 
or the thriving village shopkeeper; bit* unless some suo » 
question as war or Corn-laws arises, th e classes who form 
the mass of the people trouble themsel/ es ver y little about 
political changes. 

John Wilson Croker, who wrote of t he state of Ireland 
in 1807, said " that Ireland had a quic ;ksand Government, 
which swallowed in its fluctuations r ver ^ venture at re * 
form. In seven years we have had five chief £ ove ™ors and 
eight chief secretaries of different pri nci P les and P arfci es, 
each shifting the ahortive system of Predecessor by a 
system equally ahortive." 

It is only in politics that such ^malies exist. If 
they were attempted in physical scienc e > tbe common sense 
of mankind would rise up and denounr e the absurdit ) r > and 
the victims of it would receive the sinc: ,erest commiseration. 
But the absurdity of this mode of go vernment seems not 
to have been recognised, at least it has* not been re cognised 
practically. The process is, howeve r > ^ oin " on even at 
the present day with every appearance* of bein ° a P erennia? 
institution. The Whig and the Tory, the Liberal and the 
Conservative, has each his own theory of government. In 
England there is no opportunity for exceptional practice 
or for interesting experiments. Irela nd affords am P le sub ~ 



ject for any amount of political diagnosis. The patient 
may struggle now and then to free himself from the hands 
of his wise physicians, but his struggles are not rewarded 
with success, expatriation is his only remedy, and that 
remedy is sought with an avidity which shows the terrible 
nature of the disease. 

In England when a Whig Prime Minister goes out, and 
a Tory comes in, there is a good deal of what the Yankee 
would denominate " tall talk; " in Ireland, there is a good 
deal of unpleasant action. 

As long as men confine themselves to talking politics, 
very little harm is done ; when they come to act them, the 
results are very different. In Ireland the Whig going out 
means Orange ascendancy ; the Whig coming in means 
that the new Prime Minister will, as far as he dare, or as 
far as he is disposed, do some justice to the vast majority 
of the nation. The Orangeman who curses the Pope 
in Belfast will be fined a little more rigorously, and some 
popular Catholic lawyer will get a seat on the bench ; 
some respectable Catholic county gentleman will have the 
Honour of adding J.P. to his name. Once in a century 
some real justice will be done to Catholics. There will be 
Emancipation, or there will be the removal of a Church 
which few Irishmen believe to be divine, and for which few, 
indeed, would care to sacrifice a year's income, much less 
their lives. The interests of the Whig minister are not 
Irish ; he does just as much as is necessary to satisfy his 



conscience, if he has one ; or to promote his interests, if he 
has not one. It is dangerous ground. Pie has, above all 
tilings, to fear opposition, opposition needs a filler am for 
its lever, Irish politics. The Tory appeals to the " sense of 
the country," the unhappy minister is described as a Jesuit 
in disguise, or, at least, having Papistical tendencies. The 
general body of English statesmen do not understand Irish 
politics, and know as much about the state of Ireland as 
they do about Timbuctoo ; but they do understand, or which 
is quite the same thing, they fancy they understand, a No- 
Popery cry. 

Formerly the No-Popery cry was got up violently. The 
Irish were all Papists, or nearly all, and their one object in 
life was to massacre the heretic, to kill the poor, innocent, 
inoffensive Orangemen, who only banded together for their 
own support. The Englishman who knew nothing of Irish 
history, and who believed the Irish to be a nation of bar- 
barians, quite believed this. They never heard of any 
Orange cruelties, of any Protestant massacres ; they knew 
nothing of violated treaties, or the details of penal laws. 

By-and-by the tradition became weakened. English- 
men had more intercourse with Ireland and with these 
Papists. They came to know that they were not quite so 
bad as they had traditionally believed for so many cen- 
turies. Still the old prejudice remained. There is nothing 
more difficult to eradicate than prejudice. There were, 
there is, a certain class always ready ro take up a No-Popery 


cry, but now it must be put in rather a different form. It 
answers the purpose, however, equally well. The Opposi- 
tion who wish to get in are not very scrupulous about the 
means. They do get in, and, behold, a new policy for 

The Orangemen who have supported them must be 
rewarded; the Papist must be "put down." He has 
been endured too long, pampered and petted by the infatu- 
ated policy of the last party in office, and he will now be 
made to feel that he is an inferior being; one who is only 
tolerated, and who should be extremely thankful for 
toleration. What right has he, indeed, to expect favours? 
And with this class of politicians, justice, where a Catholic 
is concerned, is believed to be a favour. 

Thus, by this perpetual change of policy a continual 
bitterness is kept up; each party expects his turn, when 
he hopes to triumph over the opposite party. It would be 
better, and more worthy of the so-called enlightened nine- 
teenth century, if the balance of government was so equal, 
that whoever might predominate for the moment might 
feel it more than unwise to make that predominence an 
excuse for tyranny. 

On the 11th of May 1812, Mr Perceval was assassinated 
by Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons. 
The blow was so sudden, so unexpected, so entirely nn- 
looked for, and apart from any kind of probability, that 
the nation was stunned with horror. There were, indeed,. 



Bome who thought that England had been " cursed by hia 
sway," but they were few. Ireland had no reason to blesa 
his memory certainly. 

There was consternation in political circles, and there 
was confusion also. One brilliant statesman, haunted by 
the pre-Newdegate phantom of an imaginary Popish plot, 
declared that it was all the fault of the Catholics. "You 
see, my lords," exclaimed the sapient Earl of Rosse, " you 
see, my lords, the consequences of agitating the question 
of Catholic Emancipation." A man with one idea is gene- 
rally a fool. If there had been an exceptionally high tide, 
he would have attributed any damage it might have done 
to the Papists also. 

The Irish Catholics had long trusted the Prince of 
Wales. They believed the solemn promises he had made 
that he would at least consider their claims when he came 
into power. Even when he did obtain all but the name 
of king, when the poor old monarch was wandering 
dreamily through his palaces in hopeless idiocy, and the 
young prince ruled ; they believed, with the utter trusting- 
ness of their Celtic nature, that he was only kept from 
fulfil ing his promises by evil counsellors, by this Perceval 
especially, who was now gone to his account. They were 
soon undeceived. O'Connell may have had some hope, but 
he was one of the first to discover his real character. 

" I believe," said O'Connell, " there never was a greater scoundrel 
than that prince. To his other evil qualities, he added a perfect 



disregard for truth. During his connection with Mrs Fitzherbert, 
Charles J.imes Fox dined with liim one day in that lady's company. 
After dinner, Mrs Fitzherbert said, 1 By the by, Mr Fox, I had 
almost forgotten to ask you what you did say about me in the House 
of Commons the other night ? The newspapers misrepresent so 
very strangely that one cannot depend on them. You were made to 
sav that the prince authorised you to deny li is marriage with me.' 
The prince made monitory grimaces at Fox, and immediately said, 
4 Upon my honour, my dear, I never authorised him to deny it.' 

* Upon my honour, sir, you did] said Fox, rising from the table. 

* I had always thought your father the greatest liar in England, but 
now see that you are.' " 

Moore said of him, " I am sure the powder in his Royal 
Highness' hair is much more settled than anything in his 
head or in his heart." 

It was of him also that Moore wrote one of his touching 
melodies, a melody w r liich is sung by many who have little 
idea of its political origin. 

" I saw thee change — yet still relied ; 
Still clung with hope the fonder; 
And thought, though false to all beside, 
From me thou wouldst not wander. 
But go, deceiver ! go — 

The heart whose hope could make it 
Trust one so false, so low, 

Deserves that thou shouldst break it" 

A meeting was held on the 18th June 1812, at Fish- 
amble Street Theatre — Lord Fingal in the chair — at which 
Mr Hussey gave an account of the proceedings of the 


gentlemen who had been sent to London on the part of 

the Catholics. 

" Tie stated, that on applying for a personal interview with hia 
Royal Highness the Prince Regent, they received a blunt refusal, 
and were informed by Mr Secretary Ryder, that the address to his 
Highness, with which they were charged, should be presented at 
one of his public levees 1 in the usual way.' 

" Every artifice," continued Mr Hussey, " every hostility was 
used by the administration and its adherents against the Catholic 
petition to Parliament. The same cry ivas raised ivhich gave them 
in England the value of popularity at their outset ; and in every 
street we were met by placards from various debating societies, that 
the question to be argued was, would not the emancipating of the 
Catholics be attended with worse consequences than the naturalisa- 
tion of the Jews 1 Publications, which had laid dormant for hun- 
dreds of years, were dragged from their obscurity, and circulated with 
an anxiety and industry heretofore unknown; every calumny that 
could be thrown against our tenets, everything against our priesthood, 
every libel, and every lie, were marshalled, against us/" 

The famous " witchery " resolutions were passed at this 
meeting. The resolutions obtained this name from the 
very plain allusion contained in the first resolution to 
the witchery which was exercised by Lady Hertford in her 
guilty intrigues with the Prince Regent. 

The 4th, 5th, and 6th resolutions were the most impor- 
tant: — 

" 4. That from authentic documents now before us, we learn, with 
deep disappointment and anguish, how cruelly the promised boon 
of Catholic freedom has been intercepted by the fatal witchery of 
an unworthy secret influence, hostile to our fairest hopes, spurning 



alike the sanctions of public and private virtue, the demands of 
personal gratitude, and the sacred obligations of plighted honour. 

" 5. That to this impure source we trace, but too distinctly, our 
afflicted hopes and protracted servitude, the arrogant invasion oi 
the undoubted right of petitioning, the acrimony of illegal state 
prosecutions, the surrender of Ireland to prolonged oppression and 
insult, and the many experiments, equally pitiful and perilous, 
recently practised upon the habitual passivenesa of an ill-treated, but 
high-spirited people. 

" 6. That cheerless, indeed, would be our prospects, and faint our 
hopes of success, were they to rest upon the constancy of courtiers, 
or the pompous patronage of men, who can coldly sacrifice the 
feelings and interest of millions at the shrine of perishable power; 
or, deluded by the blandishments of too luxurious a court, can 
hazard the safety of a people for ill-timed courtly compliment. The 
pageants of a court command not our respect ; our great cause rests 
upon the immutable foundations of truth, and justice, and reason. 
Equal constitutional righto, unconditional, unstipulated, unpur- 
chased by dishonour, are objects dear to our hearts. They consist 
with wisdom, virtue, humanity, true religion, and unaffected honour; 
and can never be abandoned by men who deserve to be free." 

O'Connell surpassed himself in eloquence when passing 
these resolutions. He commenced by a clear statement 
of the variou< pledges which had been made by the Prince 
Regent at different times to assist the Catholics. There 
wtxs no need to show that these pledges had been recklessly 
violated one and all. The Irish Papist would not be 
believed even on his oath. If he was permitted to take an 
oath, he was generally obliged to swear that what he swore 
was true. There are some phases in the English political 
government of Ireland which might reconcile the Irishman 



to this insult to his faith and his honesty. Perhaps those 
Englishmen who found it so difficult to believe an Irish 
oath were little influenced by the knowledge of their own 
reckless disregard of their solemn pledges. After all, they 
could only he expected to judge others by themselves. 

Of the pledges made to Lord Kenmare, Lord Petre, and 
Lord Clifden, through the Duke of Bedford and Mr Pou- 
sonby, we need not speak. These pledges were left in the 
pawn-office of English honour, and men of principle were 
found at last to redeem them. 

The conclusion of 0' Council's speech is more important, 
for it might have been made in our own day with painful 
justice : — 

" We may still hope. Hope, the last refuge of the wretched, ia 
left us; and we lately indulged it almost with the pleasures of 
certainty. A crime, the horrid crime of causeless assassination, had 
deprived England of her Prime Minister — for, my Lord, everywhere 
but in Ireland assassination is admitted to be a crime. Here, also, 
it depends on circumstances ; you have but to combine these cir- 
cumstances. Let the victim be an Irish Papist, let the murderer 
be an Orangeman, and let a legal junta administer the government 
in the name of the Duke of Richmond : it requires no more to 
turn murder into merit ! 

" The process in England is different. There they hanged and 
dissected the murderer, and transferred the advantages of the crime* 
if I may so express myself, to the victim ; it really and truly has 
been considered a merit in Mr Perceval to have been murdered. 
The public men in England seem to think his death constituted not 
only an expiation for all his political sins, but turned his offences 
against his country into virtues. 



u For my part, I feel unaffected horror at his fate, and all trace of 
resentment for his crimes is obliterated. But I do not forget that 
he was a narrow-minded bigot, a paltry statesman, and a bad minis- 
ter — that every species of public corruption and profligacy had in 
him a flippant and pert advocate — that every advance towards re- 
form or economy had in him a decided enemy — and that the liberties 
of the people were an object of his derision. 

11 All this has not been changed by the hand of this assassin ; yet 
I do, from my heart, participate in the grief and anguish which his 
premature fall must have excited within his domestic circle. The 
sorrows of his family have been obtruded on the public, by ill-judging 
party writers, with something like ostentatious affectation ; but I 
do not love the man — nay, Ihate the man — who could contemplate, 
coldly and unmoved, the affecting spectacle of the wife and children 
standing in speechless agony round the lifeless body of the murdered 
husband and father; it was a scene to make a stoic weep. 

u But are all our feelings to be exhausted by the great ? Is there 
no compassion for the wretched Irish widow, who lost her boy — her 
hope, her support 1 I shall never forget the pathetic and Irish sim- 
plicity with which she told her tale of woe — 1 My child was but 
seventeen ; he left me on Sunday morning quite well, and very 
merry, and he came home a corpse.' Are her feelings to be despised 
and trampled on ? Is the murderer of her son to remain unpunished, 
perhaps to be rewarded ? Oh yes ; for Byrne was a Papist, and the 
assassin, Hall, was an Orangeman, nay, a purple marksman : and 
recollect, that his Grace the Duke of Richmond did not pardon him 
until after a most fair and patient trial. Hall was defended by his 
counsel and attorney ; he was tried by a jury of his own selection ; 
I say of his own selection — because he exhausted but few of his 
peremptory challenges; nobody, indeed, would think of accusing 
honest Sheriff James of packing a jury against an Orangeman. 
Even had the list been previously submitted to the Secretary at the 
Castle, he would not have altered a single name ; Sir Charles Saxton 
might have reviewed it with perfect safety to the prisoner. 


" After a patient trial, and a full defence, Hall was convicted ; he 
was convicted before a judge certainly not unfavourable to the pri- 
soner ; he was convicted of having murdered, Math the arms entrusted 
to hhn for the defence of the public peace, and in the public streets 
of your city, and in the open day, an innocent and unoffending youth. 
He has been pardoned and set at large — perhaps he has been re- 
warded : but can this be done with impunity? Is there no ven- 
geance for the blood of the widow's son 1 Alas ! I am not, I trust, 
inclined to superstition, yet it obtruded itself on my mind, that the 
head of the Government which had allowed the blood of Byrne to 
flow unrequited, might have vindicated the notion of a providential 
visitation for the unpunished crime." 3 

CTConnell then spoke, " not in anger, but in the 
deepest sorrow," of Lord Moira. He, too, was one of the 
many whom the Irish had trusted, and by whom they 
were betrayed. It is true, indeed, that his betrayal wa3 
not a betrayal of treachery, it was a betrayal of indifference, 
but the effect was much the same. 

There was little to hope for from the new Ministry, 
especially as Lord Wellesley had refused office, because it 
was distinctly avowed that nothing would be done for 
Catholics. The Orange faction were now ascendant 
and triumphant, and as they never "bore their honours 
meekly," the worst results ensued for the peace of unhappy 

3 In a letter from the Princess Elizabeth to the Hon. Mrs Scott, speak- 
ing of the murder of Mr Perceval, she says—" It is impossible not to 
shrink with horror when one thinks of an Englishman committing 
murder." Poor Princess ! how little she knew of the real history of hei 
own time 1—Life of Lord Eldon, vol. ii. p. 204. 



O'Connell declared again and again, his desire to work 
cordially with Irish Protestants. TTe was the first to make 
puhlic acknowledgment, in the very warmest language, for 
any assistance he might obtain from them, and he had 
good reason to do so. There were many Irish Protestants 
who worked with him cordially; and if he denounced the 
Orange faction in no measured words, it was because they 
were a faction, not because they were Protestants. 

If religion had not been used as a political engine by 
English statesmen, their factious bitterness would soon 
have died out. 1 

It was necessary also at this time to get up a strong anti- 
Irish feeling in England, and the task was by no means 
difficult. Men were driven to the verge of desperation, in 
truth to desperation, by being deprived of the most ordi- 
nary means of procuring the necessaries of life. These 
men did commit outrages, did commit murder ; and every 
outrage was magnified, as it passed through the manipulation 
of those who were interested in manipulating it; and every 
murder was represented as the most deadly, the most 
treacherous, and the most diabolical of crimes. From 
the way in which Irish agrarian murders were — shall 

4 The Orangemen were very active this year. King William's 
statue in Dublin was adorned with extra ornaments. The custom of 
adorning this statue began in 1795, and was originated by a half-crazy 
bookseller named Mackenzie, who got the nickname of King William's 
milli ner. 



_____ _____—_—_————————— — — — — i m 

we say are? — spoken of, it might be supposed that the 
landlords were the most benevolent of human beings, who 
overwhelmed these wretches with a weight of mercy and 
kindness. How entirely the reverse of this practice was true, 
may he found in the sworn evidence of men of whose veracity 
there cannot be a question. 5 

Orange Lodges were then being established in England, 
where, unhappily, there is every effort being made at pre- 

6 In the report of the Select Committee, 1824, we find the follow- 
ing questions and answers : — " Mr Beecher said — 1 I think they (the 
lower classes) have been unused to fair dealing from the upper classes ; 
if they get it, they seem gratified beyond measure.' Major "Warburton 
declared that many of the people would willingly give a day's labour 
in times of distress for one meal. John Duncan, Esq., said, — ' To 
the want of employment I attribute much of our unhappy state.' 
John Wiggins, Esq., an English merchant, said ' The efforts I have wit- 
nessed are really extraordinary. People bringing manure from the sea 
up extraordinary cliffs. I give them infinite credit for perseverance in 
this way.' Francis Blackburne, K.C., said — 'On the property of Lord 
Stradbroke, in the county Limerick, there were forty or fi fty families. 
The whole of that numerous body were dispersed, and their houses pro- 
strated ; they were, generally speaking, destitute of the means of support. 
That circumstance created a good deal of irritation in the county. [It 
will be remembered that the Duke of Wellington said such t irritation ' 
must be put down.] This is not a singular case. The same thing is 
generally prevalent in the whole of the country.' He further said, ' The 
mass of the population were destitute of what in England would be con- 
sidered the necessaries of life.' Mr K em mis, Crown Solicitor, gave an 
account of eleven murders which occurred from 1816 to 1838, all arising 
from evictions." 

Mr Kohl, in his well-known Irish "Tour," said— "When he saw the 
poor settlers of Livonia, he used to pity them ; but when he came to 
Ireland, he found that the poorest of them lead a life of luxury compared 
with that of the Irish nation." 


Bent to increase them. Their one cry now, as then, is for 
their own ascendency ; and some of our readers will remem- 
ber the treasonable language which they used at the period 
immediately previous to the disestablishment of the Irish 
Protestant Church, and the declaration made by many of 
Own) that their loyalty would last as long as their princi- 
ples were carried out, and no longer. 

On the 15th of June 1813, there was a meeting at 
Fishamble Street Theatre, at which over 4000 persons were 
present. After reading the resolutions, O'Connell made a 
singularly effective speech, from which we can only give a 
few extracts : — 

" Let me, in the first place, congratulate you on the progress 
which the principle of religious liberty has made since you last met. 
It has been greatly advanced by a magnificent discovery lately made 
by the English in ethics, and upon which I also beg leave to con- 
gratulate you. It is this : several Englishmen have discovered, in 
the nineteenth century, and more than four hundred years after the 
propagation of science was facilitated by the art of printing — several 
sagacious Englishmen have made this wonderful discuvery in moral 
philosophy, that a man is not necessarily a worse citizen for having 
a conscience, and that a conscientious adherence to a Christian reli- 
gion is not an offence deserving of degradation or punishment." 

He then alluded to the Veto question. 

" They offer you emancipation, as Catholics, if you will kindly 
consent, in return, to become schismatics. 6 They offer you liberty, 

6 This was probably an allusion to Mr Butler's efforts to get i body 
of English Catholics together who would agree to the Veto, and call 
themselves, " Protesting Catholic Dissenters." 



as men, if yon agree to become slaves after a new fashion — that is, 
your friends and your enemies have declared that you are entitled 
to Catholic emancipation and freedom, upon the trifling terms of 
schism and servitude ! 

" Generous enemies ! — bountiful friends! Yes, in their bounty, 
♦hoy resemble the debtor who should address his creditor thus : — 
1 It is true, I owe you £100 ; T am perfectly well able to pay you ; 
but what will you give me, if I hand you 6s. 8d. in the pound of 
your just debt, as a final adjustment? Let us allay all jealousies,' 
continues the debtor, 'let us put an end to all animosities — I will 
give you one-third of what I owe you, if you will give me forty 
shillings in the pound of additional value, and a receipt in full, duly 
stamped, into the bargain.' 

" But why do I treat this serious and melancholy subject with 
levity ? Why do I jest, when my heart is sore and sad 1 Because 
I have not patience with this modern cant of securities, and vetoes, 
and arrangements, and clauses, and commissions. Securities against 
what? Not against the irritation and dislike which may and natu- 
rally ought to result from prolonged oppression and insult. Securi- 
ties — not against the consequences of dissensions, distrusts, and 
animosities. Securities — not against foreign adversaries. The 
securities that are required from us are against the effects of con- 
ciliation and kindness, against the dangers to be apprehended from 
domestic union, peace, and cordiality. If they do not emancipate 
us ; if they leave us aliens and outlaws in our native land ; if they 
continue our degradation, and all those grievances that, at present, 
set our passions at war with our duty, then they have no pretext 
for asking, nor do they require, any securities ; but should they 
raise us to the rank of Irishmen, should they give us an imme* 
diate and personal interest in our native land, should they share 
with us the blessings of the constitution, should they add to 
our duty the full tide of our interests and affection ; then— then, 
say they, securities will be necessary. Securities and guards 
must be adopted. State bridles must be invented, and shackles 
and manacles must be forged, lest, in the intoxication of new 



liberty, we should destroy, only because we have a greater interest 
to preserve." 

The great orator then turned to historical facts, which 
were incontrovertible, for a proof of his assertions. 

" Eut to return to our own history. The reigns of the First and 
of the Second George passed away ; England continued strong ; she 
persevered in oppression and injustice ; she was powerful and re- 
jected ; she, therefore, disregarded the sufferings of the Irish, and 
increased their chains. The Catholics once had the presumption to 
draw up a petition; it was presented to Primate Boulter, then 
governing Ireland. He not only rejected it with scorn and without 
a reply, but treated the insolence of daring to complain as a crime 
and punished it as an offence, by recommending and procuring still 
more severe laws against the Papists, and the more active execution 
of the former statutes. 

" But a new era advanced ; the war which George the Second 
waged on account of Hanover and America exhausted the resources, 
and lessened, while it displayed, the strength of England. In the 
meantime, the Duke of Bedford was Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. 
The ascendency mob of Dublin, headed by a Lucas, insulted the 
Lord-Lieutenant with impunity, and threatened the Parliament. 
All was riot and confusion within, whilst France had prepared an 
army and a fleet for the invasion of Ireland. Serious danger men- 
aced England. The very connection between the countries was in 
danger. The Catholics were, for the first time, thought of with 
favour. They were encouraged to address the Lord-Lieutenant, and 
for the first time, their address received the courtesy of a reply. 

" By this slight civility (the more welcome for its novelty) the warm 
hearts and ready hands of the Irish Catholics were purchased. The 
foreign foe was deterred from attempting to invade a country where 
he could no longer have found a friend ; the domestic insurgents 
were awed into silence ; the Catholics and the Government, simplj 



by their combination, saved the state from its perils ; and thus did 
the Catholics, in a period of danger, and upon the very first applica- 
tion, and in return for no more than kind words, give, what we 
want to give, security to the empire." 

O'Connell then referred with singular power and feli- 
city, and with convincing truth, to the various periods of 
Irish history at which some justice was done to Catho- 
lics, because England was in peril, and found it best 
to avoid domestic dissension when she had to contend 
with foreigners. 

Then he reverted to the occasions in which Catholic 
claims were treated w r ith contempt because England was 

"In 1792, the Catholics urged their claims, as they had more 
than once done before. But the era was inauspicious to them, for 
England was in prosperity. On the Continent, the confederation of 
German princes and the assemblage of the French princes, w ith their 
royalist followers, the treaty of Pilnitz, and the army of the King of 
Prussia, gave hope of crushing and extinguishing France and her 
liberties for ever. At that moment the Catholic petition was 
brought before Parliament ; it was not even suffered, according to 
the course of ordinary courtesy, to lie on the table * it was rejected 
with indignation and with contempt. The head of the La Tnicke 
family, which has since produced so many first-rate Irishmen, then 
retained that Huguenot hatred for Catholics which is still cherished 
by Saurin, the Attorney- General for Ireland. La Touche proposed 
that the petition should be rejected, and it was rejected by a 
majority of 200 to only 13. 

" Fortune, however, changed. The invari cn c f the Prussians was 
unsuccessful ; the French people, worshipping the name as if it 
were the reality of liberty, chased the Duke of Brunswick from their 


Boil ; the King of Prussia, in the Luttrel style, sold the pass ; the 
German princes were confounded, and the French princes scattered ; 
Dumourier gained the battle of Jemappes, and conquered the Aus- 
trian Netherlands ; the old governments of Europe were struck 
with consternation and dismay, and we arrived at the fourth, and 
hitherto the last stage of Emancipation ; for, after those events 
in 1793, was passed that Act which gave us many valuable political 
rights — many important privileges. 

"The Parliament — the same men who, in 1792, would not suffer 
our petition to lie on the table — the men who, in 1792, treated us 
with contempt, in the short space of a few months granted us the 
elective franchise. In 1702, We were despised and rejected; in 
1793, we were flattered and favoured. The reason was obvious ; in 
the year 1792, England was safe ; in 1793, she wanted security — 
and security she found in the emancipation of the Catholics, partial 
though it was and limited. The spirit of republican phrenzy was 
abroad ; the enthusiasm for liberty, even to madness, pervaded the 
public mind." 

He followed up this exposure of English vacillation by 
showing the true path to security. 

"The plain path to safety — to security — lies before her. Let 
Irishmen be restored to their inherent rights, and she may laugh to 
scorn the shock of every tempest. The arrangements which the 
abolition of the national debt may require will then be effectuated, 
Without convulsion or disturbance; and no foreign foe will dare to 
pollute the land of freemen and of brothers. 

" They have, however, struck out another resource in England : 
they have resolved, it is said, to resort to the protection of Oninye 
Lodges. That system which has been declared by judges from the 
bench to be illegal and criminal, and found by the experience of the 
people to be bigoted and bloody — the Orange system, which has 
marked its progress in blood, in murder, and in massacre — the 
Orange system, which has desolated Ireland, and would have con- 



verted her into a solitude but for the interposing hand of Corn- 
wall is — the Orange system, with all its sanguinary horrors, is, they 
say, to be adopted in England ! 

" Its prominent patron, we are told, is Lord Kenyon or Lord 
Yarmouth ; the first an insane religionist of the Welsh Jumper sect, 
who, bounding in the air, imagines he can lay hold of a limb of the 
Deit.y, like Macbeth, snatching at the air-drawn dagger of his fancy! 
He Avould be simply ridiculous, but for the mischievous malignity 
of his holy piety, which desires to convert Papists from their errors 
through the instrumentality of daggers of steel. Lord Kenyon may 
enjoy his ample sinecures as he pleases, but his folly should not 
goad to madness the people of Ireland. 


" You know full well that I do not exaggerate the horrors which 
the Orange system has produced, and must produce, if revived 
from authority in this country. I have, in some of the hireling 
prints of London, read, under the guise of opposing the adoption 
of the Orange system, the most unfounded praises of the conduct 
of the Irish Orangemen. They were called loyal and worthy and 
constitutional. Let me hold them up in their true light. The 
first authentic fact in their history occurs in 1795. It is to be 
found in the address of Lord Gosford, to a meeting of the magis- 
trates of the county of Armagh, convened by his lordship, as gover- 
nor of that county, on the 28th of December 1795. Allow me to 
read the following passage from that address : — 

" ' Gentlemen, Having requested your attendance here this day, 
it becomes my duty to state the grounds upon which I thought it 
advisable to propose this meeting ; and at the same time to submit 
to your consideration a plan which occurs to me as most likely to 
check the enormities that have already brought disgrace upon this 
country, and may soon reduce it into deep distress. 

" * It is no secret that a persecution, accompanied with all the 
circun- stances of ferocious cruelty, which have in all ages distinguished 
that dreadful calamity, is now raging in this country. Neither ago 



nor sex, nor even acknowledged innocence, as to any guilt in the 
late disturbances, is sufficient to excite mercy, much less to afford 

u 4 The only crime which the wretched objects of this ruthless 
persecution are charged with, is a crime, indeed, of easy proof j it 
is simply a profession of the Roman Catholic faith, or an intimate 
Connection with a person professing this faith. A lawless banditti 
have constituted themselves judges of this new species of delin- 
quency, and the sentence they have denounced is equally concise 
and terrible. It is nothing less than a confiscation of all property, 
and an immediate banishment. It would be extremely painful, and 
surely unnecessary, to detail the horrors that are attendant on the 
execution of so rude and tremendous a proscription — one that cer- 
tainly exceeds, in the comparative number of those it consigns to 
ruin and misery, every example that ancient and modern history 
can supply ; for where have we heard, or in what story of human 
cruelties have we read, of half the inhabitants of a populous coun- 
try deprived, at one blow, of the means as well as the fruits of 
their industry, .and driven, in the midst of an inclement season, to 
seek a shelter for themselves and their helpless families, where 
chance may guide them 1 

u ' This is no exaggerated picture of the horrid scenes that are 
now acting in this country.' 

" Here is the first fact in the history of the Orangemen. They 
commenced their course by a persecution, with every circumstance 
of terocious cruelty. These lawless banditti, as Lord Gosford called 
ihem, showed no mercy to age, nor sex, nor acknowledged inno- 
cence. And this is not the testimony of a man favourable to the 
rights of those persecuted Catholics ; he avows his intolerance in 
the very address of which I have read you a part ; and though shocked 
at these Orange enormities, he still exults in his hostility to eman- 

" After this damning fact from the early history of the Orange- 
men, who can think with patience on the revival or extension of 



this murderous association 1 It is not, it ought not, it cannot be 

end it red, that such an association should be restored to its power of 
mischief by abandoned and unprincipled courtiers. But I have 
got in my possession a document which demonstrates the vulgar 
and lowly origin, as well as the traitorous and profligate purpose of 
this Orange society. It has been repeatedly sworn to in judicial 
proceedings, that the original oath of an Orangeman was an oath 
to exterminate the Catholics." 7 

He then proceeded to read some extracts from a book 

printed, for the use of the Orange Lodges, by William 

M'Kenzie iia 1810. He continued : — 

" I can demonstrate from this do^timent that the Orange is a 
vulgar, a profligate, and a treasonable association. To prove it 

7 At a time when vigorous efforts are being made to extend the Orange 
associations both in England and Ireland, it would be well that Protest- 
ants as well as Catholics learned more of their true princi^es. At the 
Orange demonstration in Manchester on the 12th of July lb^, as r6 
ported by the Standard, the following resolution was moved and seconded 
with acclamation : — 

" That the admission of Roman Catholics to Parliament by the Act 
of 1829 has led to the corruption of political parties, by inducing 
political leaders to sacrifice the safeguards of Protestantism for the sup« 
port of Roman Catholics, whose one great purpose is the supremacy of 
their own Church— a course which, if permitted to continue, must b% 
destructive of that civil and religious liberty which has so long been the 
glory of England. We protest against such conduct, and we pledge 
ourselves to oppose by every means in our power all such conces- 

From this it is evident that, however these persons may have advanced 
in general civilisation, they have yet to learn that religious liberty 
means liberty to all. The liberty they demand is the liberty to 
exercise intolerance. In the north of Ireland, on the same day, a gal- 
lant colonel made an exhibition of his wife's Orange gown before an 
amused, if not an appreciative audience. He said, " He was true lo hii 



treasonable, I read the following, which is given as the first of theii 
secret articles : — ' That we will bear true allegiance to his Majesty, 
his heirs and successors, so long as he or they support the Protestant 
ascendency.' The meaning is obvious, the Orangeman will be loyal 
Inst so long as he pleases. The traitor puts a limit to his allegiance, 
suited to what he shall fancy to be meant by the words 'Protestant 
Ascendency.' If the legislature presumes to alter the law for the 
Irish Catholics, as it did for the Hanoverian Catholics, then is the 
Orangeman clearly discharged from his allegiance, and allowed, at 
the first convenient opportunity, to raise a civil war; and this is 
what is called a loyal association. Oh ! how different from the 
unconditional, the ample, the conscientious oath of allegiance of the 
Irish Catholic!" 

O'Counell then read some of the other " secret resolu- 
tions," which we omit, and pass to the — 

"'8th Secret Article. — An Orangeman is to keep a brother's 
secrets as his own, unless in case of murder, treason, and perjury, and 
of his own free will.' See what an abundant crop of crimes the 
Orangeman is bound to conceal for his brother Orangeman. Killing 
a Papist may, in his eyes, be no murder, and he might be bound to 
conceal that ; but he is certainly bound to conceal all cases of riot, 
maiming, wounding, stabbing, theft, robbing, rape, housebreaking, 

colours ; and when evil times came on Ireland he was turned out of the 
magistracy of the county because his wife wore an Orange gown. As 
there were ladies present, they might be curious to see the Orange gcwn, 
and he would have no objection to produce it." (The chairman, amid 
laughter and cheers, produced from a leather bag some square yards of 
silk— a tolerably well-preserved relic of the lady to whom he referred.) 
After all, it was a harmless exhibition of partisan feeling. Of course, it 
passed unnoticed by the English press ; but if a Catholic had made a 
similar exhibition, some very strong language would have been used to 
describe his idiocy, and the ad'air would have been reported from John 
0' Groat's House to Land's End. 



house-burning, and every other human villany, save murder, treason, 
and perjury. These are the good, the faithful, the loyal subjects. 
They may, without provocation or excuse, attack and assault — give 
the lint assault, mind, when they are certain no brother can be 
brought to trouble. They may feloniously and burglariously break 
into dwellings, and steal, take, and carry away whatever they will 
please to call arms and ammunition. And, if the loyalty of a 
brother tempts him to go a little further, and to plunder any other 
articles, or to burn the house, or to violate female honour, his 
brother spectators of his crime are bound by their oaths to screen it 
for ever from detection and justice. I know some men of better 
minds have been, in their horror of revolutionary fury, seduced 
into these Lodges, or have unthinkingly become members of them J 
but the spirit, the object, and the consequences of this murderous 
and plundering association, are not the less manifest. 

" I do not calumniate them ; for I prove the history of their 
foundation and origin by the unimpeachable testimony of Viscount 
Gosford, and I prove their principles by their own secret articles, 
the genuineness of which no Orangeman can or will deny. If it 
were denied, I have the means of proving it beyond a doubt. And 
when such principles are avowed, when so much is acknowledged 
and printed, oh, it requires but little knowledge of human nature 
to ascertain the enormities which must appear in the practice of 
those who have confessed so much of the criminal nature of their 

" Thsre is, however, one consolation. Tt is to be found in 
their ninth secret article — ' No Romc^i Catholic can be admitted 
on any account.' I thank them for it, I rejoice at it ; no Eoman 
Catholic deserves to be admitted ; no Roman Catholic would desire 
to belong to a society permitting aggression and violence, when safe 
and prudent, permitting robbery to a certain extent, and authorising 
treason upon a given contingency. 

"And now let me ask, What safety, what security can the 
minions of the court promise to themselves from the encourage 


ment of this association ? They do want security, and from the 
Catholics they can readily have it; and you, my friends, may 
want security, not from the open attacks of the Orangeman, for 
against those the law and your own courage will protect you, 
bur of their secret machinations you ought to be warned. They 
will endeavour, nay, I am most credibly assured, that at this 
moment their secret emissaries are endeavouring to seduce you into 
acts of sedition and treason, that they may betray and destroy you. 
Recollect what happened little more than twelve months ago, when 
the board detected and exposed a similar delusion in Dublin. Re- 
collect the unpunished conspiracy which was discovered at Limerick; 
unpunished and unprosecuted was the author. Recollect the Mayor's 
Constable of Kilkenny, and he is still in office, though he admini- 
stered an oath of secrecy, and gave money to his spy to treat the 
country people to liquor and seduce them to treason. I do most 
earnestly conjure you to be on your guard, no matter in what shape 
any man may approach who suggests disloyalty to you, no matter of 
what religion he may affect to be, no matter what compassion he may 
express for your sufferings, or what promises he may make ; believe 
me that any man who may attempt to seduce you into any secret 
association or combination whatsoever, that suggests to you any 
violation of the law whatsoever, that dares to utter in your presence 
the language of sedition or of treason, depend upon it — take my 
word for it, and I am your sincere friend — that every such man is 
the hired emissary and the spy of your Orange enemies — that his 
real object is to betray you, to murder you under the forms of a 
judicial trial, and to ruin your country for your guilt. If, on the 
contrary, you continue at this trying moment peaceful, obedient, 
and loyal ; if you avoid every secret association, and every incite- 
ment to turbulence ; if you persevere in your obedience to the laws, 
and in fidelity to the Crown and Constitution, your emancipation is 
certain and not distant, and your country will be restored to you ; 
your natural friends and protectors will seek the redress of your 
grievances in and from Parliament, and Ireland will be again free 



and happy. If you suffer yourself to be seduced by these Orange 
betrayers, the members of the board will not be bound to resist your 
crimes with their lives ; you will bring disgrace and ruin on our 
cause ; you will destroy yourselves and your families, and perpetuate 
the degradation and disgrace of your native land. But my fears 
a>e vain. I know your good sense; I rely on your fidelity ; yoi. 
will continue to baffle your enemies ; you will continue faithful and 
peaceable ; and thus shall you preserve yourselves, promote your 
cause, and give security to the empire." 

Two points should be specially noted in the conclusion 
of this masterly address : O'ConnelPs love of justice, 
which impelled him to admit that there were members, 
even of Orange lodges, who were of better minds than their 
associates, and his determined out-spoken abhorrence of 
anything even approaching to secret combinations, how- 
ever speciously such combinations might be framed or 

With some few, and not very honourable exceptions, those 
men who have distinguished themselves most in public 
life have been remarkable for the practice of domestic 
virtue. O'Connell's attachment to his wife has already 
been mentioned. She was certainly not a woman of any 
remarkable intellectual calibre, but she had sufficient 
appreciation of her husband's value to give him the just 
award of her affectionate approbation in his career. When 
separated, as they were frequently, they kept up an affec- 
tionate correspondence, and Mrs O'Connell helped the 
Liberator by her earnest sympathy in his pursuits when 


she could not help him by any personal co-operation. As 
.his sons grew up, they, too, took their share in his work 
with more or less ability. 

But O'Connell belonged to the public. He gave his life 
to Ireland ; unhappy, indeed, will Ireland ever be if she 
forgets the debt of gratitude which she owes to her most 
illustrious son! Other men have fought for her, or died 
for her. Let her honour them. Those who are faithful 
to unfortunate Ireland deserve the praise which men re- 
ceive who lead a forlorn hope. O'Connell led Ireland 
on until she won the noblest victory on record, because it 
was the victory of mental power over brute force. When 
the memory of O'Connell grows dim in Irish hearts — but 
I may not pen the words ; his memory never will grow 
dim while there is an Irishman with heart to love, or in- 
tellect to cherish it. 

It is to be regretted, however, that some of those very 
persor.s who are most sensibly benefited by O'Connell are 
not grateful to him for the concessions he obtained for 
them. Their ingratitude arises principally from ignorance 
and partly from prejudice. From ignorance, because those 
English Catholics, who look with something like contempt 
on O'Connell's career, are seldom well informed, or fully 
informed as to his history ; from prejudice, because we 
believe that where this dislike exists, and where we know 
it now to exist, it arises from a prejudice against O'Connell, 
because at times neither his words nor his manner were 


exact ly in accordance with conventional rules of etiquette. 
The very position of English Catholics of the upper class 
lias made them tenaciously touchy on those subjects. It 
would seem as if they forgot that some of those who have 
done the noblest work for God on earth have not been what 
the world calls gentlemen. 

Yet after a careful perusal of all O'Connell's speeches, it 
is difficult to find more than a few words here and there, 
which, in a fastidious audience would have been better 
unsaid ; and if those words or expressions were compared 
with others which have been uttered from the bench and 
in the senate at the present day, we think that a jury would 
award a verdict of not guilty by comparison to O'Connell. It 
should be remembered also that Berkeley described the 
Irish aristocracy of the day as " Goths in ignorance, spend- 
thrifts, drunkards, and debauchees." It was evidently not 
from such persons that O'Connell could learn courtly 

A rough and ready style was best suited to O'Connell's 
work, and we suspect he cultivated it purposely. Eoche 8 
gives an account, which, he says, he received from the 
Liberator himself, of the care with which he prepared some 
of his speeches, and undoubtedly there are passages in 

8 Roche's Essays, vol. ii. p. 103. He says — " His earliest exhibition 
as an orator at Cork was on the 2d September 1811, at the first great 
Catholic meeting held there, and of which he was chairman. He made 
u splendid speech of two hours' duration, which he passed the night in 


many of them which are of the very highest order of 
rhetorical composition. 

Theil, in his " Sketches of the Irish Bar," has given an 
admirable sketch of O'Connell's daily life when in the 
zenitli of his fame. 

He says : — 

"If any of you, my English readers, being a stranger in Dublin, 
should chance on your return on a winter's morning from one of tho 
small and early parties of that raking metropolis — that is to say, 
between the hours of five and six o'clock — to pass along the south 
side of Merrion Square, you will net fail to observe that, among 
those splended mansions, there is one evidently tenanted by a person 
whose habits differ materially from those of his fashionable neigh- 
bours. The half-opened parlour shutter, and the light within, 
announce that some one dwells there whose time is too precious to 
permit him to regulate his rising with the sun's. Should your 
curiosity tempt you to ascend the steps, and, under cover of the 
dark, to reconnoitre the interior, you will see a tall, able-bodied 
man standing at a desk, and immersed in solitary occupation. 
Upon the wall in front of him there hangs a crucifix. From this, 
and from the calm attitude of the person within, and from a certain 
monastic rotundity about his neck and shoulders, your first impres- 
sion will be that he must be some pious dignitary of the Church of 
Rome absorbed in his matin devotions. • But this conjecture will be 
rejected almost as soon as formed. No sooner can the eye take in 
the other furniture of the apartment — the bookcases clogged with 

preparing for the press, and which I saw the next morning fairly written 
in his bold flowing hand, exactly as he had pronounced it, though he 
certainly could not have gotten it entirely by heart, for he adverted in 
its course to various matters of the discussion." 




tomes in plain calf skin binding, and blue-covered octavos that lie 
about on the tables and the floor, the reams of manuscript in oblong 
folds ;uul begirt with crimson tape — than it becomes evident that 
the party meditating amidst such objects must be thinking far more 
of the law than of the prophets. 

" He is, unequivocally, a barrister, but apparently of that homely, 
chamber keeping, plodding cast who labour hard to make up by 
assiduity what they want in wit— who are up and stirring before the 
bird of the morning has sounded the retreat to the wandering 
spectre, and are already brain- deep in the dizzying vortex of mort- 
gages, and cross-remainders, and mergers, and remitters, while his 
clients, still laped in sweet oblivion of the law's delay, are fondly 
dreaming that their cause is peremptorily set down for a final hear- 
ing. Having come to this conclusion, you push on for home, bless- 
ing your stars on the way that you are not a lawyer, and sincerely 
compassionating the sedentary drudge whom you have just detected 
in the performance of his cheerless toil. But should you happen, 
in the course of the same day, to stroll down to the Four Courts, 
you will be not a little surprised to find the object of your pity 
miraculously transferred from the severe recluse of the morning into 
one of the most bustling, important, and joyous personages in that 
busy scene. There you will be sure to see him, his countenance 
braced up and glistening with health and spirits, with a huge, 
plethoric bag, which his robust arms can scarcely contain, clasped 
with paternal fondness to his breast, and environed by a living 
palisade of clients and attorneys, with outstretched necks, and 
mouths and ears agape to catch up any chance opinion that may be 
coaxed out of him in a colloquial way ; or listening to what the 
client relishes still better — for in no event can they be slided to a 
bill of costs — the counsellor's burst of jovial and familiar humour; 
or, when he touches on a sadder strain, his prophetic assurances that 
the hour of Ireland's redemption is at hand. You perceive at once 
thit you have lighted upon a great popular advocate; and, if you 
take the trouble to follow his movements for a couple of hours 


through the several courts, you will not fail to discover the qualities 
that have made him so — his legal competency, his business-like- 
habits, his sanguine temperament — which renders him not merely 
the advocate, but the partisan of his client — his acuteness, his 
fluency of thought and language, his unconquerable good humour, 
and, above all, bis versatility. By the hour of three, when the 
judges usually rise, you will have seen him go through a quantity 
of business, the preparation for and performance of which would be 
sufficient to wear down an ordinary constitution ; and you naturally 
suppose that the remaining portion of the day must, of necessity, 
be devoted to recreation or repose. But here again you will be 
nii.>taken ; for, should you feel disposed, as you return from the 
courts, to drop into any of the public meetings that are almost 
daily held — for some purpose, or to no purpose — in Dublin, to a 
certainty you will find the counsellor there before you, the presiding 
spirit of the scene ; riding in the whirlwind and directing the storm 
of popular debate with a strength of lungs and a redundancy of 
animation as if he had that moment started fresh for the labours of 
the day. There he remains until, by dint of strength or dexterity, 
he has carried every point ; and from thence, if you would see him 
to the close of the day's eventful history, you will, in all likelihood, 
hav< to follow him to a public dinner; from which, after having 
acted a conspicuous part in the turbulent festivity of the evening, 
and thrown off half-a-dozen speeches in praise of Ireland, he retires 
at a late hour, to repair the wear and tear of the day by a short 
interval of repose, and is sure to be found, before dawn-break 
next morning, at his solitary post, recommencing the routine 
of his restless existence. Now, any one who has once seen in 
the preceding situation the able-bodied, able-minded, acting, 
talking, multifarious person I have just been describing, has no 
occasion to inquire his name — he may be assured that he is and can 
be no other than ' Kerry's pride and Munster's glory ' — the far- 
famed and indefatigable Daniel O'Connell. His frame is tall, ex- 
panded, and muscular — precisely such as befits a man of the people; 



for the physical classes ever look with double confidence and affec- 
tion upon a leader who represents in his own person the qualities 
upon which they rely. In his face he has been equally fortunate — . 
it is extremely comely. The features are at once soft and manly : 
the florid glow of health and a sanguine temperament are diffused 
over the whole countenance, which is national in the outline, and 
braining with national emotion; the expression is open and con 
fiding, and inviting confidence; there is not a trace of malignity or 
wile —if there were, the bright and sweet blue eyes, the most kindly 
and honest looking that can be conceived, would repel the imputa- 
tion. These popular gifts of nature O'Connell has not neglected to 
set off by his external carriage and deportment — or, perhaps, I 
should rather saj^ that the same hand which has moulded the 
exterior, has supersaturated the inner man with a fund of restless 
propensity which it is quite beyond his power, as it is certainly 
beside his inclination, to control. A large portion of this is neces- 
sarily expended upon his legal avocations ; but the labours of the 
most laborious of professions cannot tame him to repose. After de- 
ducting the daily drains of the study and the courts, there remains 
an ample residuum of animal spirits and ardour for occupation, 
which go to form a distinct and, I might say, a predominant char- 
acter — tiie political chieftain. The existence of this overweening 
vivacity is conspicuous in O'Connell's manners and movements; and 
being a popular, and more particularly a national quality, greatly 
recommends him to the Irish people — mobilitate viget ; body and 
soul are in a state of permanent insurrection. See him in the 
streets, and you perceive at once that he is a man who has sworn 
that his country's wrongs shall be avenged. A Dublin jury (if 
judiciously selected) would find his very gait and gestures to be 
high treason by construction, so explicitly do they enforce the 
national sentiment of < Ireland her own — or the world in a blaze ! ' 
As he marches to court, he shoulders his umbrella as if it were a 
pike. He flings out one factious foot before the other as if he had 
already burst his bonds, and was kicking the Protestant ascendency 



before him ; while ever and anon, a democratic, broad-shouldered 
roll of the upper man is manifestly an indignant effort to shuffle off 
the oppression of seven hundred years. This intensely national 
sensibility is the prevailing peculiarity in O'Connell's character; 
for it is not only when abroad and in the popular gaze that Irish 
affairs seem to press upon his heart — the same Erin-go br a gh 
fueling follows him into the most technical details of his forensic 
occupations. Give him the most dry and abstract position of law 
to support — the most remote that imagination can conceive from 
the violation of the Irish Parliament, and ten to one hut he 
will contrive to interweave a patriotic episode upon those examples 
of British domination. The people are never absent from his 
thoughts. He tosses up a bill of exceptions to a judge's charge in 
the name of Ireland, and pockets a special retainer with the air of 
a man that doats upon his country. There is, perhaps, some share 
of exaggeration in all this; but much less, I do believe, than is 
generally suspected, and I apprehend that he would scarcely pass 
for a patriot without it ; for, in fact, he has been so successful, and 
looks so contented, and his elastic, unbroken spirits are so disposed 
to bound and frisk for very j<>y — in a word, lie has naturally so bad 
a face for a grievance, that his political sincerity might appear 
equivocal, were there not some clouds of patriotic grief or indigna- 
tion to temper the sunshine that is for ever bursting through 

It must have been no small sacrifice to a man who 
enjoyed society as O'Connell did, to absent himself from 
social circles. The resolution of the man's character was 
as unselfish in this as in his life-long devotion to the cue 
pursuit. It was, indeed, a part of his pursuit. 

As a raconteur he was probably unequalled. With the 
best of memories, with a quick wit to seize the point of 
any incident, and with an admirable manner of relating 



it, lie could not fail to take pleasure in the exercise of hia 
gift, as well as to give pleasure to others. Let Ireland 
remember, when she counts up her debt of gratitude to 
O'Connell, how many nights he deprived himself of neces- 
sary rest, and how many days he deprived himself o( 
that relaxation, which, for most men in his position, and 
undertaking his labours, would have been considered a 
necessity rather than an indulgence. 

His bar anecdotes were amongst the most amusing. 
Several are recorded which relate to the well-known Jerry 
Keller :— 

" Jerry," said O'Connell, " was an instance of great waste of 
talent. He was the son of a poor farmer near Kanturk, named 
Keleher, which Jerry anglicised into Keller when he went to the 
bar. He was an excellent classical scholar, and had very consider- 
able natural capacity ; but although he had a good deal of business 
Bt the bar, his success was far from being what he might have 
attained had he given his whole soul to his profession. His readi- 
ness of retort was great. Baron Smith once tried to annoy him on 
his change of name at a bar dinner. They were talking of the 
Irish language. < Your Irish name, Mr Keller,' said the baron, 
'is Diarmuid ua Cealleachair? 4 It is,' answered Jerry, nothing 
tinted, ' and yours is Laimh Gabha.' There was a great laugh at 
the baron's expense— a sort of thing that nobody likes." 

" Another time," said O'Connell, " when the bar were dining 
together on a Friday, a blustering young barrister named Norcott, 
of great x>rtteiuioii with but slender materials to support it. 
observed that Jerry was eating fish instead of meat, and by way of 
jeering Jerry (who had been originally a Catholic), said to him : 
' So you won't eat meat ? Why I did not think, Jerry, you had so 
much of the Pope in your belly/ < For all the meat in the market/ 



■aid Jerry, 'I would not ha^e as much of the Pretender in my head 
u you have. 1 M 

Jerry was a member of a famous convivial society who 
denominated themselves the 44 Monks of the Screw. 1 ' Lord 
Avonniore was a " monk M also, and as long as he lived 
Jerry's bag was lull. After the death of this nobleman 
lie sank into poverty, yet he still went circuit, and held 
his place as senior at the mess, where his humour never 
deserted him, though it became somewhat embittered by 
his mi-fort ones. 

Of Lord Clare, O'Connell used to tell the following anec- 
dote : — 

"Lord Clare's enmity to Ireland," said O'Conncll, "was once 
nearly ended by an assassin. In 1 7 1> 1 , he was carrying :v bill 
Arongh the rrish Parliament for compelling the aocountaut of the 
Court of Exchequer to return his accounts whenever called upon by 
the court. These summary accounts would have been very incon- 
venient to Baron Power, who. as junior baron, tilled the office of 
accountant. lie lived extravagantly — making use of the money of 
the public that came into his hands, and Looking to future good luck 
to enable him to reckon with the owners. The bill would have been 
his ruin ; and after many ineffectual efforts to dissuade Lord Clare 
from pressing it, be at last resolved in a fit of desperation to Rasas* 
Miute him. So lie drove to Ely Place with a brace of loach'. I piste ii 
in In.s pocket, and asked to see Lord Clare, who providentially wua 

from home. Baron Tower then resolved on suicide, and ordered 
his coachman to drive him along the North Wall. When he had 
got to a considerable distance out of town ho quitted the carriage, 
desired the coachman to await his return, and walked on alone 
towards the Pigeon House. He tied his hands together in 
order to deprive himself of the power of Bwimming, and jumped 



into the sea from the pier. It was afterwards remarked aa 
curious that he walked off to drown himself using an umbrella, as 
the day was wet. One would think the sprinkling of a shower 
would not much incommode a fellow who was resolved on a watery 
doath. Think of a man going to drown himself with an umbrella 
to keep out the wet. 

" Shortly after, Crosbie Morgan, one of the oddest of odd attor- 
neys, also drowned himself. The ballad-mongers shouted their 
accounts of these events through Dublin, crying out : ' Great times 
for Ireland! One judge drowned! One attorney drowned!' 
They had also: 4 Last speech and dying words of Crosbie Morgan!' 
which instead of ending with the approved finish of the penitent 
declaration of Catholic criminals — namely, ' I die an unworthy 
member of the Church of Rome,' ended thus : * I die an unworthy 
mongrel of neither church.' 

" ' Crosbie Morgan,' said O'Connell, ' was a very eccentric fellow. 
He probably made more money than any other attorney of his time. 
He had eleven clerks in his office, and every clerk was an attorney. 
Great as were his gains, his expenditure was greater. Whenever he 
travelled to Dublin he used to engage all the post-chaises at every 
inn where he slept along the road ; and if he found any gentlemen 
of his acquaintance going to town, he invariably gave them seats 
gratis. His own personal suite always filled two or three of the 

"'Had Baron Power,' continued O'Connell, reverting to Lord Clare, 
'murdered Fitzgibbon, Pitt would have found much more difficulty 
in carrying the Union. Castlereagh, although as vile, shameless, 
and indefatigable a tool as ever corruption had, could not, unaided 
by the commanding energy of Clare, have succeeded so well in the 
dirty work. Clare had great intellectual powers. He lived at a 
period fertile in monsters — Clare was a monster. He was a kind of 
petticoat Robespierre. His father was a barrister of considerable 
eminence. Old Fitzgibbon and his brother were the first persona 
w ho introduced the system of reporting the proceedings of the Eng< 


lish law courts in the public newspapers without the authority of 
the presiding judge. They were students in the Temple at the time, 
nnd fjord Mansfield tried to put a stop to the practice, but tho 
Fitzgibbons persevered and succeeded. Clare was atrociously bigoted 
igainst the Catholics. A Protestant friend of mine, who often 
met him at the whist parties of an old dowager, told me nothing 
could possibly eAceed the contemptuous acerbity with which on 
these occasions he spoke of the Catholics. ' The scum of the earth/ 
nnd such like phrases, were the epithets he habitually applied to 
them.' " 

Some one having alluded to the temptation to amass large sums 
nflorded by facility and security from detection, O'Connell told the 
following anecdote: "I knew a person named Barnewell, who, 
while staying in Dublin, was commissioned by a friend in the 
country to purchase a lottery-ticket. The choice of the number 
was left to Barnewell, who accordingly selected and paid for a ticket. 
It turned up a prize of £10.000. He had the most thorough faci- 
lity for retaining the amount. All he need do was to buy his 
friend some other ticket. No one could say that he had not duly 
executed his commission. But Barnewell reasoned thus with him- 
self : 'If,' said he, 1 my friend had not commissioned me to buy the 
ticket for him, I never would have bought it for myself. It there- 
fore is rightly his ; and to put myself beyond the reach of casuistry, 
I'll lodge the amount to his credit immediately, and apprise him 
that I have done so by this night's post ; ' which honest Barne- 
well accordingly did. I recollect when I was a younker, my uncle 
gave me £300 in goid, to get changed into notes at Cotter & Kel- 
lett's bank. The clerk, through stupidity, gave me £400, of which 
£300 were in small notes, and the rest in a £100 note. I pointed 
out his blunder ; and he / in a very surly manner, and without look- 
ing at the heap of notes, insisted that I must be wrong, for that he 
never mistook. I persisted ; he was sulky and obstinate. At last 
our altercatk.n attracted the notice of Cotter, who came over and 
asked what was the matter. I told him I had get £100 too much 



lie reckoned the money, and then took off the .£100, saying, 'Nov* 
it is all right ' I begged he would let me retain that note, as my 
uncle was desirous to get the largest note he could ; and, I assure 
vou, it was with no trifling difficulty I could prevail on the old 
gentleman to take his .£100 in small notes ! " 

When O'Connell was at the Limerick assizes in 1812, 
Standish O' Grady asked O'Connell to go with him to the 

" O'Connell declined, observing that the Limerick grand jurors 
were not the pleasantest folk in the world to meet after dinner. 
O'Gnidy went, but soon returned. 4 Dan/ said he, ' you were 
quite right. I had not been five minutes in the box, when some 
ten or a dozen noisy gentlemen came into it. It was small 
and crowded ; and, as I observed that one of the party had his 
head quite close to a peg on which I had hung my hat, I said 
very politely, " I hope, sir, my hat does not incommode you ; if it 
does, pray allow me to remove it." " Faith," said he, " you may be 
sure it does not incommode me ; for if it did, d — n me, but I 'd 
have kicked it out of the box, and yourself after it ! " So, lest the 
worthy juror should change his mind as to the necessity of such 
a vigorous measure, I quietly put my hat on, and took myself 
off.' " 

It will scarcely be expected that the Liberator would 
he an admirer of Irish parsons, however friendly he 
might be with Irish Protestants. Nor can it be said that 
their character at that period was such as to command 
respect even from their own flocks. To read prayers once 
on Sunday, if they had a congregation, was the extent of 
the ecclesiastical administration of their parishes, if, in- 
deed, we except the time spent in tithe-hunting. And 



this occupation, of which we shall say more hereafter, cer- 
tainly did not tend to increase respect for their office. 

O'Connell used to relate an amusing case in which he 
was engaged against a parson for a breach of promise of 
marriage. The lady was a Miss Fitzgerald ; the gentleman, 
Parson Hawkes worth. 

u Hawkesworth," said he, " had certainly engaged the lady's 
affections very much. He had acquired fame enough to engage her 
ambition. He was a crack preacher — had been selected to preach 
before the Lord-Lieutenant ; his name occasionally got into the 
papers, which then was not often the case with private persons; and, 
no doubt, this notoriety had its weight in the lady's calculations. 
The correspondence read u r on the trial was comical enough. The 
lady, it appeared, had at one period doubted his fidelity, whereupon 
the parson writes to re-assure her in these words: — 'Don't believe 
any one who says I '11 jilt you ! They lie, who say so ; and I pray 
that all such liars may be condemned to an eternity of itching 
without the benefit of scratching ! 1 £3000 damages were given 
against him. He was unable to pay, and decamped to America upon 
a preaching speculation, which proved unsuccessful He came back 
to Ireland, and married ike prosecutrix /" 

Whatever may have been O'Connell's capabilities in the 
way of using language which was more forcible than ele- 
gant, there is no doubt that he found example in Parson 

The following anecdote is a specimen of the fashion in 
which justice was administered at the close of the last 
century : — 

"In the year 1798," said O'Connell, "my friend , and his 

two brothers, were taken prisoners by a magistrate who owed their 



mother X2000. The worthy justice went to that lady and said, 
'If you don't release my bond, I'll have your sons flogged and 
banged.' ' Sir,' answered she, ' if you were to treat me in that 
manner, you could not extort the bond from me; and I am much 
mistaken if my sons have not at least as much firmness as their 
mother.' Fortunately Judge Day, who was a very humane man, 

went the circuit ; and as no witnesses appeared against the , 

he discharged them by proclamation. In pronouncing their dis- 
charge, Day gave the young men a sort of moral and political lecture, 
in which he congratulated them on their escape, and advised loyal 
conduct for the future. 4 You have no business to lecture us, my 
lord,' said , ' as if we were guilty of disloyalty. We are per- 
fectly innocent, and are quite as loyal as your lordship. Had our 
enemies been able to establish any sort of case against us, they 
would not have failed to produce their witnesses. It is too bad 
then, my lord, to lecture us as if our conduct had in any respect 
been censurable/ Day, who was a thorough gentleman, bowed and 

said : ' You are quite right, Mr , and I was quite wrong. I 

beg your pardon.' Next morning the eldest brother was again 
seized and thrown into jail by the machinations of the worthy 
magistrate who owed his mother money. The jailer was a savage 
brute, and took every opportunity of tormenting him. One day he 
came to his cell, and said, with a diabolical grin, ' I 've news that 
is bitter to you and pleasant to me — your two brothers have been 

hanged, and you are to be strung up to-morrow ! ' Mr was 

well enough aware of the frightful character of the times to know 
that this was at least possible. ' Is what you have told me really 
true?' he asked of the jailer. ' Upon my oath, it is,' returned the 

jailer. ' Then, my man/ cried Mr , * before I leave this world, 

I shall have the satisfaction of giving you as good a licking as ever 
man got.' So saying, he pounced upon the jailer and wallopped 
him awfully. The jailer screamed, and his screams attracted 

persons without, who would have fired at Mr through the 

grating in the door, only that he constantly kept the jailer between 



himself and the door. Mr continued to thrash the jailer 

until he was unable, from exhaustion, to thrash him any longer. 
The jailer then went off, and soon returned with sixty-eight pounds 
weight of irons, with which he and his assistants loaded their 
irisonei. When ironed he was laid on a bed, and the jailer beat 
him with a loaded blackthorn stick as long as he was able to stand 
over him. He then kept him forty-eight hours without food ; and 
when the commanding-officer who inspected the prison arrived, he 

was utterly a>tonished how Mr survived the treatment he had 

received. Finding that there was not the shadow of any accusation 
agaii st him. that officer set him free upon his own responsibility. 
What times ! exclaimed Connell after he had narrated this in- 
cident. " What a scene! The prisoner thrashing the jailer, and 
the jailer thrashing his prisoner ! What a country in which such 
things could be enacted !" 9 

■ We may be thankful that there id no parallel for such circumstances 
in Ireland at the present day ; but we cannot forget that equal, if not 
greater, atrocities have been committed recently under British rule in 
Jamaica and in India ; yet the Irish are spoken and written of as if they 
were still a nation of savages, and as if England should be their model. 
We quote the following from the Nation, 20th July 1872. While Eng- 
land gives no better example, it can scarcely expect the Irish peasant to 
believe it a safe guide. 

" One of our weekly London contemporaries took genial occasion to 
speak of the Irish people — it was only last Saturday — as 1 one of the 
inferior races for whom we' — bold Britons— 'are morally bound to have 
all compassion and commiseration/ Side by side with tnia paternal 
outburst of sympathy for our inferiority, the same journal condenses the 
list of the criminal calendar for the previous seven days, which is well 
worth pondering. The list comprises the murder of a woman at Dart- 
ford ; a case of murder at Norfolk (sentence of death passed) ; a trigamy 
at Durham : a manslaughter at Warwick ; an attempt at murder at the 
same place ; a murder at Southsea ; a suicide in Dorsetshire ; a murder 
at Chorley ; an infanticide in Shropshire ; a stabbing case in Yorkshire; 
a murder and suicide at Wakefield ; assaults by drunken boys in Cler- 



The Dublin Evening Post was then the liberal paper of 
the day. During the war the latest news, old as it might 
l.e, was as eagerly sought for as the last telegram at the 
present time. The celebrated John Magee, of whom more 
hereafter, was the proprietor. In connection with this 
paper O'Connell used to tell an amusing anecdote : — 

u One day during the war James Connor and I dined at Mr 
Mahony's, in Dublin, and after dinner we heard the news-vendors, 
as usual, calling out, ' The Post ! The Dublin Evening Post ! Three 
packets in to-night's Post /' The arrival of the packets was at that 
time irregular, and eagerly looked for. We all were impatient for 
the paper, and Mahony gave a fivepenny piece to his servant, a 
Kerry lad, and told him to go down and buy the Post. The boy 
returned in a minute with a Dublin Evening Post a fortnight old. 
The roguish news-vendor had palmed off an old newspaper on the 
unsuspecting Kerry tiger. Mr Mahony stormed, Connor and I 
laughed, and Connor said, ' I wonder, gossoon, how you let the 
fellow cheat you 1 Has not your master a hundred times told you 

ken well; i disgusting assaults by a Scripture reader' in South wark, and 
a host of robberies which we have not time to particularise ; a man- 
slaughter in Smithfield ; a murder at Uxbridge ; a double murder in 
Hoxton ; a murder in Marylebone ; a manslaughter at Willenhall ; the 
discovery of three dead bodies in Kentish-town ; a murder at Leeds ; 
an attempted murder in Clerkenwell ; a suicide at Dover ; and, finally, 
an atrocious case of murder in Carmarthenshire ! In the Irish news oi 
the same journal the week's chronicle of Irish crime cuts a poor figure 
by the side of its English and more enterprising relative. It sets forth 
with deadly precision the report of an attempted agrarian outrage in 
Meath, and the sending of a threatening letter to Sir Arthur Guinness, 
and there it ends. On the whole, we are not ashamed of the comparison, 
and we cheerfully acknowledge our inferiority— in crime only— to a 
people whose unbridled passions and murderous instincts have penned 
this blood-red chronicle of atrocities within the brief space of one week!" 



that the dry papers are always old and good for nothing, and that 
new papers are always wet from the printing-office 1 Here 's another 
fivepenny. Be off now, and take care to bring us in a wet Post.' 
1 Oh, never you mind the fi'penny, sir,' said the boy, 'I'll get the 
paper without it;' and he darted out of the room, while Mahony 
cried out. ' Hang that young blockhead, he '11 blunder the business 
again.' But in less than five minutes the lad re-entered with a 
iresh, wet paper. We were all surprised, and asked him how he 
managed to get it w ithout money. ' Oh, the aisiest way in life, 
your honour.' said the urchin ; ' I just took the dry old Post, and 
cried it down the street a bit — Dublin Evening Post .' Dublin 
L 'veiling Post I and a fool of a gentleman meets me at the corner, 
and buys my ould dry paper. So I whips across to a newsman I 
sees over the way, and buys this line, fresh new Post for your honour 
with the money I got for the ould one.' " 

But, however OTonnell may have enjoyed bar-society 
and bar-jokes, there can be no question that home, as he 
considered Darrynane Abbey, was the place he loved best. 
We do not like to think how sorrowful his heart must have 
been when he looked at it for the last time. 

Darrynane House is situated close to a little bay, which 
is separated from the harbour of Ballinskilligs by a rocky 
promontory called the Abbey Island. Here are the ruin3 
already described, and of which we have given an illustra- 
tion. Many of the CTConnell family lie here, taking their 
long rest after the troubled life of the good old times. 

The coast is wild and grand ; for the Atlantic waves dash 
in summer and winter in great waves on the rock-bound 
shore. Until the year 1839, when the new road from 
Cahirciveen was completed, men were employed with 



ropes to drag the carriages along some four or five miles of 
road, which was too precipitous for any other mode of 

" The house is sheltered to the north and west by mountains, 
ranging from 1500 to 2000 feet in height. On the east, the view 
is bounded by a chain of high rocks, that divide the bay of Darry- 
1 1 a i i e from that of Kenmare. Close to the house is a thriving plan- 
tation called the shrubbery, covering some ten or twelve acres of a 
most rocky and irregular tract, through the irregularities of which 
there are many very pretty winding walks. In the midst of this 
shrubbery, perched high aloft upon an ivied rock, is a small circular 
turret, commanding, over the tops of the young trees, a view of the 
ocean and of the neighbouring hills. To this turret, Mr O'Conneil 
frequently retired to cogitate in solitude over his future political 
movements. He had also a favourite walk in the garden, which is 
picturesquely situated amongst rocks, and contains some of the finest 
old hollies I have ever seen. 

" Danynane House possesses tolerable accommodation, although 
it often proved scarcely sufficient for the numbers attracted by the 
hospitable habits and political celebrity of the owner. It was built 
at different periods, and without the slightest regard to any uniform 
plan of architecture ; a room was added whenever there arose a 
demand for increased accommodation ; so that the whole mass pre- 
sents a curious cluster of small buildings of different dates, heights, 
and sizes." 

We shall let Mr O'Neill Daunt describe O'Conneil at 
home : — 

" On the third or fourth morning after my arrival at Darrynane, 
I was summoned by Mr O'Conneil to accompany the hunting party. 
It was not quite six o'clock — the morning was clear and bright, 
and gave promise of a beautiful day. We followed a winding path 
called ' The Meadow Walk,' which crosses and recrosses a merry 



mountain brook ; we ascended the hill of Coomakista, crossed tho 
line of the new road, and ere half an hour had elapsed, a hare was 
started. It was a glorious run ; the hare was in view for half a 
mile or more ; and as the dogs ran the scent, they kept so close to- 
gether, that a sheet might have covered the pack. O'Connell, who 
enjoyed the hunt with infinite glee, walked and ran from rock to 
rock, to keco the dogs in view. The mountain air had already 
sharpened my appetite, and I inquired rather anxiously when we 
should have breakfast. 

u 1 Xot until we kill two hares,' replied O'Connell ; 1 we must earn 
our breakfast.' He then engaged in busy speculations on the course 
of the hare— she had doubled, and thrown out the dogs — the pack 
were at fault ; they had scattered, and were trying in different 
directions to recover the scent. Ah ! Drummer hit the scent again, 
and now they were all once more in full pursuit. 

" It was a glorious scene. Overhead was a cloudless sky ; 
around us, on every side, was the most magnificent scenery, lighted 
up with brilliant sunshine. There was that finest of all music, the 
loud, full cry of the beagles, returned by a thousand echoes ; the 
shouts of men and boys ringing sharp and cheerily along the hills ; 
and there was Daniel O'Connell himself, equalling in agility men not 
half his age. pouring forth an exhaustless stream of jest and anec- 
dote, and entering with joyous zeal into the fullest spirit of the 
noble sport, 

" Two hares were killed within an hour and a half ; and we then 
sat down to breakfast in a small sheltered nook. It was a green 
hollow in the hill-side, about 900 feet above the level of the sea. 
Immediately over us projected a grey rock, which formed a sort of 
rude ceiling to the inner part of our mountain parlour. Breakfast 
in such a spot, and with such appetites, was truly a luxurious feast. 
A fragment of rock was our table ; some of the party sat on stones, 
whilst others reclined in primitive fashion on the grass. The hunts- 
man, in their gay red jackets, and several of the peasantry, formed 
an irregular line upon the outskirts. The noble dogs sat around 




with an air of quiet dignity, that seemed indicative of conscious 
merit. Far beneath us was the Atlantic, sparkling in the morning 
sun ; to the right were the mountain isles of Scarriff and the bold 

rocks of Skellig. 

" The post-boy arrived with, the letter-bag while we were at break- 
fast. Mr O'Connell read his letters on the mountain ; the hunt was 
then resumed, and with such success, that, if I mistake not, we 
brought home seven hares at sunset. 

" On days when he did not hunt, the mode in which he usually 
disposed of his time at Darrynane was as follows : — After breakfast 
the newspapers and letters occupied, in general, from one to two 
hours ; he would then, if the day was fine, stroll out for a while to 
the beach, the garden, or to his turret in the shrubbery. Whenever 
I accompanied him on any of these walks, he invariably pointed 
out among the surrounding rocks the course of some hunt, and de- 
tailed, with a minuteness that evinced the interest he took in the 
subject, the various turns of the hare, and the exploits of the dogs. 
He would then return to the house, and spend the rest of the dax 
till dinner in his study. One day I found him reading the 'Col- 
legians,' which he told me was his favourite work of fiction. ' I 
have been reading it over again,' said he, ' with a melancholy interest. 
Scanlan was the real name of the man who is called Hardress 
Cregan in the novel. I was Scanlan's counsel at the trial, and I 
knocked up the principal witness against him. But all would not 
do ; there were proofs enough besides, that were quite sufficient to 
convict him/ 

" He always occupied the head of his table at dinner, and, with 
rare exceptions, was talkative and jocular during that meal. He 
generally sat about an hour after it, and then returned to the study, 
where he remained until bed-time." 

A letter which O'Connell wrote from Darrynane to 
Walter Savage Landor, in October 1838, shows how he 
loved his mountain home. He says — 



"I could show you at nocntide, when the stern south-wester had 
blown long and rudely, the mountain waves coming in from the 
illimitable ocean, in majestic succession, expending their gigantic 
force, and throwing up stupendous masses of foam, against the 
more gigantic and more stupendous mountain cliffs that fence not 
only this my native spot, but form that eternal barrier which pre- 
vents the wild Atlantic from submerging the cultivated plains and 
high-steepled villages of proud Britain herself. Or, were you with 
rue amidst the Alpine scenery that surrounds my humble abode, 
listening to the eternal roar of the mountain torrent, as it bounds 
through the rocky defiles of my native glens, I would venture to 
tell you how I was born within the sound of the everlasting wave, 
and how my dreamy boyhood dwelt upon imaginary intercourse with 
those who are dead of yore, and fed its fond fancies upon the 
ancient and long faded glories of that land which preserved litera- 
ture and Christianity, when the rest of the now civilised Europe 
was shrouded in the darkness of godless ignorance. Yes ; my 
expanding spirit delighted in these dreams, till catching from them 
an enthusiasm which no disappointment can embitter, nor accumu- 
lating years (diminish, I formed the high resolve to leave my native 
land better after my death than I found her at my birth, and, if 
possible, to make her what she ought to be — 

1 Great, glorious, and free, 
First flower of the earth, and first gem of the sea,' 

" Peihaps, if I could show you the calm and exquisite beauty of 
these capacious bays and mountain promontories, softened in the 
pale moonlight which shines this lovely evening, till all, which 
during the day was grand and terrific, has become calm and serene 
in the silent tranquillity of the clear night, perhaps you would 
readily admit that the man who has been so often called a ferocious 
demagogue, is, in truth, a gentle lover of Nature, an enthusiast of 
all her beauties — 

4 Fond of each gentle and each dreary scene,' 


and catching, from the loveliness as well as the dreariness of the 
ocean, and Alpine scenes with which it is surrounded, a greater 
ardour to promote the good of man, in his overwhelming admiration 
of the mighty works of God." 

O'ConnelFs power of apprehension was remarkable. 

While apparently absorbed in letters or papers of the 

greatest importance, he would often hear and answer some 

observation, which might be made in the lowest tone, and 

at the far end of a large room. He once gave considerable 

annoyance to a legal friend, who was consulting him about 

an act cf parliament. 

"The lawyer was reading aloud the disputable parts of the act, 
when he suddenly stopped short, exclaiming, ' 0, Mr O'Connell, I 
ses you are reading something else ; I '11 wait till you have done.' 
'Go on ! go on, man!' said O'Connell, without raising his eyes from 
the document with which he was engaged, * I hear you quite dis- 
tinctly. If you had as much to do as I have, you would long ago 
have been trained into the knack of devoting the one moment to two 
occupations.' The other obeyed, and when he had concluded hia 
queries, O'Connell put aside the second subject of his thoughts, and 
delivered a detailed reply to all the questions of his visitor." 

O'Connell's clients were not always of his own way of 

thinking, either in religion or politics. 

"Mr Hedges Eyre, a gentleman of Orange notoriety, had in- 
variably engaged O'Connell as his counsel. On one occasion a 
brother Orangeman severely censured Hedges Eyre for employing 
the Catholic leader. ' You 've got seven counsel without him,' quoth 
tl lis sage adviser, ' and why should you give your money to that 
Papist rascal V 

" Hedges did not make any immediate reply ; but they both 
remained in court, watching the progress of the trial. The counsel 



on the opposite side pressed a point for non suit, and carried the 
judge (Johnson) along with them. O'Connell remonstrated against 
the non-suit, protesting against so great an injustice. The judge 
seemed obdurate. 'Well, hear me, at all events!' said O'Connell. 
* No, I won't ! 1 replied the judge ; 1 I 've already heard the leading 
counsel.' 4 But / am conducting counsel, my lord,' rejoined O'Con- 
nell, 1 and more intimately aware of the details of the case than 
my brethren. I entreat, therefore, you will hear me.' The judge 
ungraciously consented ; and in five minutes O'Connell had argued 
him out of the non-suit. 'Now,' said Hedges Eyre, in triumph, to 
his Orange con frere, 1 now do you see why I give my money to that 
Papist rascal 1 ' " 

In 1809 O'Connell was indebted to Edmund Lees, then 
Secretary to the General Post-Office, for the establishment 
of a post-office at Cahirciveen. He gained a lawsuit for Mr 
Lees, who evinced his gratitude in this practical manner. 

" One of O'Conneil's stories was about a physician who was 
detained for many days at the Limerick assizes, to which he had 
been subpoenaed as a witness. He pressed the judge to order him 
his expenses. 'On what plea do you claim your expenses V de- 
manded the judge. 1 On the plea of my heavy personal loss and 
inconvenience, my lord,' replied the simple applicant ; ' I have been 
kept away from my patients these five days, and if I am kept here 
much longer, how do I know but they 'II gtt wellT " 

From the year 1813 to the year 1815 O'Connell was 
occupied, or rather overwhelmed, with occupation, by his 
efforts to keep the Catholic party together, and his own 
constantly increasing business. 

The celebrated trial of John Magee took place in 1813. 
He was the proprietor of the Dublin Evening Post ; and a 



review of the careers of the various Irish viceroys who had 
preceded the Duke of Eichmond, was inserted in this 
paper when the duke retired. The article was written by 
Mr Scully, the author of a well-known and most important 
work upon the penal laws. In early life he did not appear 
as a patriot; but a careful consideration of the state of 
the country could not fail to arouse any honest man to 
do his best to advocate her cause. His bookseller was 
imprisoned for publishing his book, and his editor was 
imprisoned for publishing his article. Altogether Mr 
Scully was not pleasant as a literary friend. The trial of 
the publisher arose thus: — In the year 1809, a Catholic 
farmer named Barry, a native of the county Wexford, 
was sentenced to death, and hanged, although there was 
complete evidence after his unjust conviction to prove his 
innocence. Mr Scully mentioned this fact, for it was a 
fact, in his Statement of the Penal Laws ; and as Mr Hugh 
Fitzpatrick was the publisher, he was prosecuted. 

The Attorney- General Saurin said there was internal 
evidence that the Statement of the Penal Laws was com- 
piled by a lawyer, and that, though he was safe fr^TB 
punishment because he was anonymous, he ought not to 
be so from remorse for his conduct. Mr Scully at once 
rose in court, and said he would give the author's name, if 
he would be guaranteed an impartial trial of the facts. 
Tiie Attorney-General knew the facts as well as any one, 
and how terribly damaging they were to the Government. 



He said he " stood there to prosecute a libeller, and not 
to defend the Government;" a very sensible reply. So 
the affair ended — not, however, without another appeal 
from Scully, to whom Saurin observed a discreet silence. 

The case went on. O'Counell examined Mr Burrows 
Campbell, who had been counsel for the murdered man. 
It was proved thereby that counsel had applied to postpone 
the trial ; that witnesses could not be procured, the notice 
was so short ; that Norbury, of sanguinary memory, re- 
fused the application ; that counsel thereupon threw up 
his brief ; that counsel, after the conviction of the murdered 
man, wrote to Lord Norbury concerning the voluntary 
affidavits of those persons who were to have been Barry's 
witnesses, in which they swore that he was in their com- 
pany at a distance of forty-five miles from the place where 
the murder was committed ; that counsel only received 
a verbal reply ; that he applied then to the Attorney- 
General ; that the Attorney- General took no notice what- 
ever of the matter; that he did not believe it was be- 
cause the man was a Catholic, that he was hanged being 
Innocent ; that Catholics were not so badly treated 
as that — to which Mr O'Connell replied, " No, they are 
not all hanged ; " that he spoke of the circumstances to 
every one; and that he considered them " very shocking." 

O'Connell made an admirable defence. He showed 
that Mr Pole and Sir Charles Saxton were the persons 
in office when the book was published, and that two other 



persons held their situation when the information was 
filed. The verdict was, of coarse, against Mr Fitz- 
patrick. O'Connell then made an application to have 
the verdict set aside on the ground of " misdirection " 
on the part of the judge who had charged the jury. In 
his long and eloquent address we find the following 
sentence — 

" It was matter of Irish history, that when these State prosecu- 
tions were carrying on against a Catholic of this country, not one 
man of his own religion was suffered to remain upon the panel." 

The trial of Magee created an immense sensation — none 
the less that the Attorney- General was legally dissected 
by O'Connell, in a fashion which it has not often fallen to 
the lot of an Attorney- General to bear. O'Connell, cer- 
tainly, only stated facts, but he had a very clear way of 
putting facts. He opened his address by expressing " his 
inability to discover what he had to reply to." He then 
proceeded to reason in anticipation of a conviction, and 
showed the hopeless manner in which that gentleman had 
involved himself in stating the subjects of the indictment, 
He had declared that Mr Magee was indicted as the pro- 
prietor of a newspaper, or the printer of a newspaper, and 
as having charged the Duke of Bichmond with being a 
murderer, yet none of these counts were found in the in- 
dictment. O'Connell then took up the precedent on which 
Mr Saurin acted, and showed, to the satisfaction of the 
audience, if not to the satisfaction of the counsel, that the 



case proved precisely the reverse of that for which it was 

The twice-postponed trial was commenced on the 26th 
of June 1 SI 3. The Attorney-General opened the case, and 
ritn esses were called to prove publication. There was a 
full bar on either side, the Attorney-General and the 
Solicitor -General being for the prosecution, with Sergeants 
Moore, Ball, and M'Mahon. The counsels for the defendant 
were O'Connell, Wallace, Hamilton, Finlay, and Philips. 
The matter was one of very grave importance, both for 
the Crown and for the people. It involved the question 
of the liberty of the press, and each side came to the 
forensic battle with the full knowledge of what was 

The Attorney-General imperilled his reputation, if he 
did not injure his cause, by using bad language, by de- 
scending to personal abuse of the man he was prosecuting. 
He called him a " malefactor," a " ruffian," and other 
names, with which we do not choose to defile these pages. 

0' Council's defence of Magee was his master effort 
Bt the bar. The concentrated yet galling scorn with 
irhich he treated both the manner and the matter of 
his opponent was something which could never have been 
forgotten by those who listened to it. The apparent 
compassion which he manifested when he knew that 
he had driven him to desperation was inimitably con- 
veyed. He " pitied" him, he " forgave " him, he de- 



clared him an object of compassion; he selected careful] j 
each vulgar epithet, and repeated them for the considera- 
tion of the jury, while he took care to expose the low origin 
of the unfortunate lawyer, by expressing his wonder how he 
could have recollected the forms of speech which must have 
been familiar to him in early life, " after having mixed 
for thirty years in polished society." And then, having 
briefly alluded to his " well-pensioned but ill-read news- 
paper," and its imitation of Saurin's bad language, and 
denouncing "the style and manner of the Attorney- 
General's discussion," he proceeded to the matter. 

O'Connell was well aware that his speech would be read 
in England by most of the leading politicians of the day, 
and he took the opportunity of giving them a condensed 
history of Ireland, seasoned by a pungent commentary on 
British misrule. It was in vain that the Chief Justice 
meekly said, " What, Mr O'Connell, can this have to do 
with the question the jury have to try?" Mr O'Connell 
certainly did not snub him because he was meek, but he 
took excellent care to continue his defence precisely as he 
had begun it. He declared that he was " compelled r ' by 
the Attorney- General to be political, though he had hitherto 
made it a " rigid rule of his professional conduct" not to 
mingle politics with his forensic duties. 

This was true, but we suspect, if an equally good oppor- 
tunity had offered, that the " rigid rule " would have been 
relaxed. It was true, also, that the unfortunate Attorney- 



General bad given him an opportunity, which that indi- 
vidual must have deeply regretted to the end of his life. 

The Attorney-General said that Catholics were sedi- 
tious, treasonable, and revolutionary ; it was an old story 
that, but the same charge, though still older in the present 
day, answers political purposes too well to be abandoned 
easily. O'Connell said that the Catholics only asked to 
participate in the advantages of the constitution. 

" Strange inconsistent voice of calumny," he exclaimed. " You 
■barge us with intern perance in our exertions for a participation in 
the constitution, and you charge us, at the same time, almost in the 
same sentence, with a design to overturn that constitution. The 
dupes of your hypocrisy may believe you ; but, base calumniators, 
you do not, you cannot believe yourselves 1 M 

The Attorney- General had boasted of his triumph over 
the Pope and Popery. " I have put down," he said, " the 
Catholic Committee ; I will put down at my good time the 
Catholic Board." He was unwise as well as ungentle- 
manly to taunt O'Connell thus : it was the low boast of 
that Ascendency which had kept Ireland disunited for 
centuries. O'Connell replied — 

"This boast is partly historical, partly prophetical. He was 
wrong in his history — he is quite mistaken in his prophecy. He did 
not put down the Catholic Committee ; we gave up that name the 
moment that it was confessedly avowed, that this sapient Attorney- 
General's polemico-legal controversy dwindled into a mere dispute 
about words. He told us that in the English language 1 pretence 
means 1 purpose.' Had it been French, and not English, we might 
have been inclined to respect his judgment, but in point of English 



we venture to differ with him; we told him * purpose/ good Mf 
Attorney-General, is just the reverse of ' pretence.' The quarrel 
grew warm and animated ; we appealed to common sense, to the 
grammar, and to the dictionary ; common sense, grammar, and the 
dictionary decided in our favour. He brought his appeal to this 
Court. Your lordship and your brethren unanimously decided that, 
in point of law — mark, gentlemen of the jury, the sublime wisdom 
of law — the court decided that, in point of law, 'pretence' does 
mean ' jmrpose !' 

" Fully contented with this very reasonable and more satisfactory 
decision, there still remained a matter of fact between us : the At- 
torney-General charged us with being representatives; we denied all 
representation. He had two witnesses to prove the fact for him — 
they swore to it one way at one trial, and directly the other w T ay at 
the next. An honourable, intelligent, and enlightened jury disbe- 
lieved those witnesses at the first trial ; matters were better man- 
aged at the second trial — the jury were better arranged ; I speak 
delicately, gentlemen ; the jury were better arranged, as the 
witnesses were better informed ; and, accordingly, there was one 
verdict for us on the representative question, and one verdict 
against us. 

" He concluded this part of his subject by exclaiming — ' Oh ! the 
Attorney-General ! the best and wisest of men ! ' O'Conn ell's de- 
fence of the Press was masterly ; and he showed how, when it first 
came into existence, it was stifled ar_l trammelled by the Star 
Chamber. When do the people want protection? — when the Govern- 
ment is engaged in delinquencies, oppression, and crimes. It is- 
against these that the people want the protection of the Press. 
Now, I put it to your plain sense, whether the Press can afford such 
protection, if it be punished for treating of these crimes? 

" Still more, can a shadow of protection be given by a Press that 
is not permitted to mention the errors, the talents, and the striking 
features of an administration? Here is a watchman admitted by 
the Attorney-General to be at his post to warn the people of their 



danger, and tbe first thing that is done to this "watchman is to knock 
him down and bring him to a dungeon, for announcing the danger 
he is bound to disclose. I agree with the Attorney-General, the 
Press is a protection, but it is not in its silence or in its voice of 
flattery. It can protect only by speaking out when there is danger, 
or error, or want of ability. 

"The Attorney-General told us, rather ludicrously, that they, 
meaning the duke's predecessors, included, of course, himself. How 
a man could be included amongst his predecessors, it would be 
difficult to discover. It seems to be that mode of expression which 
would indicate, that the Attorney-General, notwithstanding his 
foreign descent, has imbibed some of the language of the native Irish. 
But our blunders arise, not like this, from a confusion of idea ; they 
are generally caused by too great condensation of thought ; they 
are, indeed, frequently of the head, but never — never of the heart. 
Would I could say so much for the Attorney-General ; his blunder 
is not to be attributed to his cool and cautious head ; it sprung, I 
much fear, from the misguided bitterness of the bigotry of his 
heart ! 

"Well, gentlemen, this sentence does, in broad and distinct terms, 
charge the predecessors of the duke, but not the duke himself, with 
insult, oppression, murder, and deceit. But it is history, gentlemen : 
are you prepared to silence the voice of history ? Are you disposed 
to suppress the recital of facts — the story of the events of former 
days? Is the historian, and the publisher of history, to be exposed 
to indictment and punishment 1 " 

A resume of Irish history followed, and as O'Connell re- 
lated each act of English cruelty, perfidy, and illegality, he 
asked, " In what ladylike language shall these things be 
recorded ? " He showed that, up to this period, trial by 
jury in Ireland had been "a mockery of law and justice." 



It was then insinuated tliat it was very far from being other-. 

wise at that very time. 

He flung scorn on those who countenanced and encour- 
aged legal dishonesty, while they distributed Bibles, and 
called themselves suppressors of vice. 

In the article for which Magee was indicted, the expres- 
sion, " the profligate, unprincipled Westmoreland " was 
especially noted. On this O'Connell related some of the 
shameless and almost nameless crimes of this wretched 
man, and observed t — 

" What if these scenes were enacted in the open day — would you 
call that profligacy, sweet distributors of Bibles? The women of 
Ireland have always been beauteous to a proverb ; they were, with- 
out an exception, chaste beyond the terseness of a proverb to express j 
they are still as chaste as in former days ; but the depraved example 
of a depraved court has furnished some exceptions, and the action 
of criminal conversation, before the time of Westmoreland unknown, 
has since become more familiar to our courts of justice. 

" Call you the sad example which produced those exceptions — call 
you that profligacy, suppressors of vice and Bible distributors ? The 
vices of the poor are within the reach of control; to suppress them, 
you can call in aid the churchwarden and the constable ; the justice 
of the peace will readily aid you, for he is a gentleman ; the Court 
of Sessions will punish those vices for you by fine, by imprison* 
merit, and, if you are urgent, by whipping. But, suppressors of vice, 
who shall aid you to suppress the vices of the great ? Are you 
sincere, or are you, to use your own phraseology, whitewashed tombs, 
painted charnel-houses? Be yo hypocrites? If you are not—if 
you be sincere — (and, oh ! how I wish that you were)— if you be 
sincere, I will steadily require to know of you, what aid you expect 
to suppress the vices of the rich and great ? Who will assist you to 
suppress those vices? The churchwarden !— why, he, I believe, 



banded them into the best pew in one of your cathedrals, that they 
might lovingly hear divine service together. The constable ! — 
absurd. The justice of the peace ! — no, upon his honour. As to 
the Court of Sessions, you cannot expect it to interfere ; and, my 
lords the judges are really so busy at the assizes, in hurrying the 
grand juries through the presentments, that there is no leisure to look 
after the scandalous faults of the great. Who, then, sincere and 
candid suppressors of vice, can aid you? — The Press; the Press 
alone talks of the profligacy of the great ; and, at least, shames into 
decency those whom it may fail to correct. The Press is your assistant, 
but your only one. Go, then, men of conscience, men of religion 
— go, then, and convict John Magee, because lie published that 
Westmoreland was profligate and unprincipled as a lord-lieutenant 
— do convict, and then return to your distribution of Bibles and to 
your attacks upon the recreations of the poor, under the name of 
vices ! 

" Do convict the only aid which virtue has, and distribute your 
Bibles, that you may have the name of being religious ; upon 
your sincerity depends my client's prospect of a verdict. Docs he 
lean upon a broken reed ? * 

Camden had been called " the cold-hearted and cruel 
Camden." O'Connell pleaded justification of the libel, 
and re-asserted it. 

" I pass on from the sanctified portion of the jury which I have 
latterly addressed, and I call the attention of you all to the next 
member of the sentence — 

" 1 The cold-hearted and cruel Camden.' 

H Here I have your prejudices all armed against me. In the 
administration of Camden, your faction was cherished and trium- 
phant. Will you prevent him from being called cold and cruel ? 
Alas ! to-day, why have I not men to address who would listen to 
me for the sake of impartial justice? But even with you the case 
is too powerful to allow me to di spair. 


" Well, I do say, the cold and cruel Camden. Why, on one 
circuit, (hiring his administration, there were one hundred indi- 

one escaped ; but he was a soldier who murdered a peasant, or 
something of that trivial nature — NINETY-SEVEN victims in 
one circuit ! ! ! 

" In the meantime it was necessary, for the purposes of the 
Union, that the flame of rebellion should be fed. The meetings of 
the rebel colonels in the north were, for a length of time, regularly 
reported to Government ; but the rebellion was not then ripe enough; 
and whilst the fruit was coming to maturity, under the fostering 
hand of the administration, the wretched dupes atoned on the 
gallows for allowing themselves to be deceived." 

He spoke then in glowing language of the soldierly 
Abercromby and the heroic Moore, men whom England 
delighted to honour, whose names will ever be enshrined 
in history as amongst the bravest and best of her soldiers ; 
and he showed how they had characterised the administra- 
tration of Camden, and the fashion in which Ireland was 
governed during the. Rebellion. 

But perhaps what told most on the Attorney- General's 
case, after the allusions to his own origin, was the allu- 
sion to his own politics. In Ireland at least, men 
should be cautious in early life ; for when some un- 
happy judge or Queen's Counsel comes forward to de- 
nounce in scathing and vengeful language the delinquen- 
cies of his victims, it will perhaps be found that they 
have only followed in his footsteps at a humble distance; 
and for one unwise expression on their part, half a dozen 



criminal suggestions may be on record against the judge 
or the counsel. 

" In humble and obscure distance I followed the footsteps of my 
present adversaries. What their sentiments were then of the authors 
of the Union, I beg to read to you ; I will read them from a news- 
paper set up for the mere purpose of opposing the Union, and con- 
ducted under the control of these gentlemen. If their editor tjouhl 
be gravely denied, I shall only reply — 1 Oh ! cease your funning.' 1 

M The charge of being a Jacobin was at that time made against 
the present Attorney- General — him, plain William Saurin — in the 
very terms, and with just as much truth as he now applies it to my 
clients. His reply shall serve for that of Mr Magee. I take it from 
the Anti- Union of 22d March 1800. 

u ' To the charge of Jacobin, Mr Saurin said he knew not what it 
meant, as applied to him, except it was an opposition to the will of 
the British minister.' 

" So says Mr Magee ; but, gentlemen, my eye lights upon another 
|fastage of Mr Saurin's, in the same speech from which I havp 
quoted the above. It was in these words : — 

" ' Mr Saurin admitted that debates might sometimes produce 
agitations, but that was the price necessarily paid/or liberty? 

" Oh, how I thank this good Jew for the word. Yes, agitation is, 
as Mr Saurin well remarked, the price necessarily paid for liberty. 
We have paid the price, gentlemen, and the honest man refuses to 
give u.s the goods. 

" Now, gentlemen, of this Mr Saurin, then an agitator, I beg 
leav.- to read the opinion upon this Union, the author of which we 
have only called artful and treacherous. From his speech of the 
13*:h March 1S00, I select those passages : — 

'* 1 Mr Saurin :~aid he felt it his duty to the crown, to the countiy, 
and to his family, to warn the minister of the dreadful consequents 

1 A pamphlet under this title was published by the Solicitor-General J 
it was full of wit and talent 

2 D 



of persevering in a measure which the people of Ireland almajl 

v n animously disliked. 1 
<; And affain : — ■ 


" 1 He, for one, would assert the principles of the glorious revolu- 
tion, and boldly declare, in the face of the nation, that when the 
sovereign power dissolved the compact that existed between the 
Government and the people, that moment the right of resistance 


" ' Whether it would be prudent in the people to avail themselves 
of that right, would be another question. But if a legislative union 
were forced on the country, against the will of its inhabitants, it 
would be a nullity, and resistance to it would be a struggle against 
usurpation, and not a resistance against law.' 

" May I be permitted just to observe, how much more violent 
this agitator of the year 1800, than we poor and timid agitators of 
the year 1813. When did we talk of resistance being a question of 
prudence % Shame upon the men who call us intemperate, and yet 
remember their own violence. 

But, gentlemen, is the Attorney-General at liberty to change the 
nature of things with his own official and professional prospects] 
I am ready to admit that he receives thousands of pounds by the 
year of the public moneys, in his office of Attorney -General — thou- 
sands from the Crown-Solicitor — thousands, for doing little work, 
from the Custom house ; but does all this public booty with which 
he is loaded alter the nature of things, or prevent that from being 
a deceitful measure, brought about by artful and treacherous means, 
against which Mr Saurin, in 1800, preached the holy doctrine >f 
insurrection, sounded the tocsin of resistance, and summoned the 
people of the land to battle against it, as against usuiyation f 

" In 1800, he absolves the subjects from their allegiance, if the 
usurpation, styled the Union, will be carried ; and he, this identical 
agitator, in 1813 indicts a man, and calls him a ruffian, for speak- 
ing of the contrivers of the Union, not as usurpers, but an artful, 
treacherous men. Gentlemen, pity the situation in which he has 


placed himself, and pray, do not think of inflicting punishment 
upon my client for his extreme moderation." 

At the conclusion of this wonderful speech, O'Connell 
proved Lliat the Attorney- General had been asked to pro- 
sccule a paper which had contained gross libels upon 
Catholics, and that be had refused. O'Connell concluded 
thus : — 

" There are amongst you men of great religious zeal, of much 
public piety. Are you sincere? Do you believe what you profess] 
With all this zea!, with all this piety, is there any conscience 
amongst you? Is there any terror of violating your oaths? Be ye 
hypocrites, or does genuine religion inspire ye ? If you he sincere, 
if you have conscience, if your oaths can control your interests, 
then Mr Magee confidently expects an acquittal. 

" If amongst you there be cherished one ray of pure religion, if 
amongst you there glow a single spark of liberty, if I have alarmed 
religion, or roused the spirit of freedom in one breast amongst you, 
Mr Magee is safe, and his country is served; but if there be none — 
if you be slaves and hypocrites, he will await your verdict, and 
despise it." 

The verdict of course was for tbe Crown* 

(Ljwpfer ftinl$. 

1 8 13-18 1 9. 


BJjOWEVEB much O'Connell's memory. 
?]j is revered in Ireland, it ought to be 
revered throughout the whole Catho- 
lic, or we should rather say. Christian 
world, since by far the greater 
number of Christians are Catho- 
lics. It certainly requires a very 
careful study of his life to know 
the obstacles with which he had to contend, 
and which he overcame. It is not, we think, 
saying too much to assert that O'Connell 
was mainly instrumental in saving the Ca- 
tholic Church from the terrible consequences which 
would have followed the acceptance of the Veto. 



It required an intelligence and a mind like his to grasp the 
hearings of the whole case, and to sacrifice the present ap- 
parent good in order to avert the future corresponding evil. 

We have already said something of the political opinions of 
English Catholics. They made then, we much fear that some 
few make still, the fatal mistake of dissociating themselves 
from their Irish brethren. We have seen how some of them 
were even willing to forego the name of Catholic, and 
their self-respect along with it, for the miserable imaginary 
advantage of a higher social respectability. It is a matter 
of history, that the great majority — that, in fact, an over- 
whelming majority — of English Catholics apostatised from 
their religion to preserve their worldly goods. A noble few 
remained faithful, but the leaven of worldliness was at work 
even amongst these few, and they readily listened to any spe- 
cious plea which would tend to lessen that isolation from 
their Protestant fellow-countrymen which they felt to be, 
and which was, a social bar sinister. They seemed to have 
forgotten that the religion to which they belonged did not 
promise them either temporal prosperity or worldly honour, 
and that it might demand the sacrifice of both. 

There were, even then, men in England who had renounced 
their religion, because they had clear views of what it de- 
manded. They were men who had quietly counted the cost 
They knew very well what their religion required, but they 
had made up their minds not to submit to its requirements. 
They were, if I may say so, honest apostates. There was 



yet another class who also knew what their religion required, 
but who were always trying to make the requirements of 
their religion square in with the requirements of the world. 
They might as well have tried to square the circle. They 
failed miserably. They lost their own self-respect, and 
they lost the respect of others. They gained nothing in 
this world ; as for the next, there are some words on 
record, uttered by Eternal Truth, about the folly of being 
ashamed of Him here, and the certainty of eternal shame 
for those who yield to this temptation. 

O'Connell hated humbug. He believed in an honest 
Protestant, he respected an honest Catholic, but he could 
not endure one who professed to believe a certain creed, and 
was nevertheless ashamed of it. 

O'Connell was not singular in his opinions. 

The Evening Post of the 10th June 1813, contains the 
following : — 

" Extract of a private letter received at our office this morning, 
dated — 

M 1 London, Monday, June 7. 
" * Two English Catholics of rank waited upon his grace the 
Duke of Norfolk, on Saturday last, to inform him of the valorous 
exploit of their board, at its meeting of the 29th ultimo, in expel- 
ling the venerable Milner from their room, with sltouts of indignity 
and math. 

" ' The duke, who was bred a Catholic, retains his ancient habits 
of intimacy with the bishop, and although lie renounced Popery for 
political pursuits, yet he has not, like vulgar renegades, withdrawn 
his support from the Catholic cause. His two noble visitors having 
detailed to him their honourable triumph of the 29th May — "Aye, 



you have done well," observed his grace, with the keenest irony, " \ 
applaud you for this ; it is just what I ought to wish. You are 
following my example. You will soon become good Protestants. 
I have been only thirty-five years beforehand with you. But, after 
all, let me tell you, that Doctor Milner is only defending the true old 
Catholic religion." 

" ' The visitors felt the sting, took their leave, and returned to 
Stanhope Street.' " 

We have not space, and we candidly admit that we have 
not inclination, to enter into a detail of the pitiful squab- 
bles connected with this subject. The Irish episcopacy 
and the Irish people were firm, as they have ever been, in 
the cause of truth and justice, and the cause of truth and 
justice triumphed. 2 

In 1813, Castle Browne, in the county Kildare, was 

2 When Quarantotti's rescript arrived in Ireland in 181.4, Dr Lanigan, 
the eminent Irish ecclesiastical historian, opposed it most vigorously. 
He showed that to decide such a point would have required the de- 
liberation of the whole congregation of Propaganda, and even of an 
(Ecumenical Council. In a letter which he wrote to the Dublin Even- 
ing Post, he said, u The document is not fromhis Holiness Pius VII. . . 
nor is there a word to indicate any sort of consent or approbation from 
the Sovereign Pontiff or any one of his cardinals. Quarantotti refers 
to no authority but his own." 

Ir an admirable little work, " Notices of the Life and Character of 
the Most Hev Dr Murray," by the Rev. William Meagher, now Mon- 
ieigneur Meagher— Dublin, 1853 — the whole subject is fully and ably 
treated. This work would be well worth republishing for many reasons. 
On Good Friday 1816, Dv Murray delivered a most powerful sermon 
against the Veto. " He implored the misguided advocates of vetoism 
not to impose new and disgraceful bands on the mystical body of the 



purchased by the Jesuits. This proceeding, of course, 
excited the wrath of the Orange party. The Jesuits have 
had the singular honour of being noted and persecuted 
more than the other religious orders in the Church. The 
very name is made a by-word and reproach ; and men 
who ouirht to know better, and whose understanding we 
shall not insult by supposing them in the state of crass 
ignorance which their words would seem to indicate, find a 
singular pleasure in misrepresenting the Society for any 
excuse or for none. 

The name has done service as a watchword of bigotry, and 
d bus les Jesuites has been a party cry of intolerance for 
several centuries. There will probably always be a certain 
class of men who will find the cry too convenient to 
abandon it. 

O'Connell at once came to the rescue. He introduced 
the subject at a meeting of the Catholic Board on the 24th 
December 1813. 

"Under date of the 18th of last November, a newspaper in 
the pay of the Castle has the following tirade, upon the occasion of 
the :>eat called Castle Browne in Kildare, having been, as it asserts, 
purchased by Jesuits : — 1 Ireland stands in imminent danger. If 
Popery succeeds, her fairest plains will once more witness days 
worthy of Bloody Mary; and the walls of Derry shall again become 
the lamentable bulwarks against Popish treachery and massacre ! ' 
Well, this from men who hate the expression of any kind of bigotry 
• — who are in a rage at Dr Dromgoole for using the word 1 novelty' 
in a disrespectful sense ! It is, one would think, rather uncivil, 
' Papist treachery and massacre ' are perhaps nearly as bad as ' Pro- 


tpstafit novelty.' But tliis is a mere jest compared with a paragraph 
which I found in a Government paper of the 2d of this present De- 
cember. Hear it with patience : — 'The letter of Cranmer (alluding 
to a letter inserted in that paper) shows the times respectively when 
each of the fundamental tenets of Popery was invented — viz., the 
power of the Pope to dispense with oaths, and depose sovereign 
princes by absolving subjects from their oaths of allegiance, the 
nullity of oaths to heretics, their extirpation as a religious duty ! ' 

u Recollect that it is not a mere isolated individual ; it is a man 
patronised and salaried by the administration — a man paid with our 
money — that has the effrontery to traduce us thus ; to attribute to 
us, as fundamental tenets, doctrines of perjury, murder, and treason 
— doctrines which, if they were those of the Church ox Pome, I 
would not belong to her communion for an hour — doctrines which 
Bhock humanity, and would make religion the most cruel and the 
most absurd mockery ! 

• ••• •••• 

" Where is now that fever of zeal and fever of liberality that in- 
duced the public press to strain all its energies on the attack of Dr 
Dromgoole 1 ? Whom did his published speech accuse of perjury, of 
murder, and treason ? What ! shall it be said that, like the eels in 
the story, we Catholics are so accustomed to be skinned alive that 
we do not feel it, but that the sensibility of every other sect deserves 
the highest protection — that of the Catholic people none] Are, 
then, the Catholics, in the opinion of their friends, in such a state of 
moral degradation, that it is quite unimportant how they are treated? 
Alas\ I much fear there are too many who think so; and, miserable 
slaves that we are, our own dissensions encourage and justify the 

But that opinion has a higher source still. The law — the bar- 
barous and calumniating spirit of legislation— has consecrated the 
contempt in which we are held. No Protestant can hold office in 
Ireland without being obliged to swear 

" 1 That the invocation of the saints, and the sacrifice of the mass, 



as fhnj are now used in the Church of Rome, are superstitious and 
idolatrous ! ' 

"Take notice, it is not any abstract notion that may be formed 
of these practices, but the practices themselves, * as they are actually 
vac/.' are idolatrous. 

"Thus our Protestant relatives, kinsmen, friends, are to swear 
solemnly, to attest to the Eternal Being, that we are Idolaters ! 
Hence, then, with the partial and corrupt irritability that seeks for 
causes of censure in the language of an unavowed individual 
Catholic, and forgets the paid, the salaried, the authorised, alas ! the 
sworn calumnies, the bigotry of our adversaries." 

O'Connell's strongest arguments were simply wasted on 
men blinded by intolerance.* 

Peel was then secretary for Ireland. He sent for Dr 
Kenny, the president of the college, to interrogate him. 
Dr Kenny was perfectly aware that Peel had no authority 
whatever for this proceeding, but he went. He proved 
more than a match for the English statesman, and at 
the close of the interview, he said to Mr Peel, " I under- 
stand that you have a son?" Mr Peel said he had. Dr 

•When the Duke of Leinster was examined before Parliament about his 
neighbours the Jesuits, he spoke of them most fairly, and said, not without 
some surprise, that he had found them able to bring up boys well. He 
eaid their answers were " wonderful." So far he was sufficiently above 
prejudice to be able to comprehend to a certain extent, and to witness 
fairly to a state of life which he had hitherto believed to be very different. 
But an amusing instance of Protestant ignorance followed : — 

" Is it not professedly an establishment for Jesuits 1 " he was asked. 

"Yes, they are Jesuits," answered the duke, "for I met them in 

We have ourselves known many educated people who imagined any 
(riest of ordinary intelligence must be a Jesuit 


Kenny replied, " I can assure you with the veracity of one 
whose duty it is to be truthful, that if you send him to 
our college, we shall make him a sound scholar." Peel 
laughed heartily, but declined the favour. In the course 
of this important interview, Peel had more than suggested 
that the property o^ the Jesuits could and would be con- 
fiscated : — 

« t jyj r pgg]^ replied Dr Kenny, with great calmness and good, 
humour, ' it may be so * your Government may attempt, and have 
the power to effect such a violation of the rights of property, but in 
doing so they will also violate the maxim of Lord Chatham, whose 
statesmanship you profess to hold in reverence. As you may not 
recollect the circumstance at this moment, suffer me to recall it to 
you. It having been suggested to him to lay hold of the moneys 
lying in the English funds, in the names of natives of France, with 
whom war was then waging : " No, no," said he ; " if the devil had 
money in the English funds, it should be held safe for him !"'" 

Either Mr Peel thought that the Jesuits had as much 
right to fair play as the devil, or, what is more probable, 
he did not consider it expedient to interfere with them, 
for they were left in peace. Wisdom is not hereditary, 
but undoubtedly prejudice is, and were not the subject 
of such grave importance, it would be amusing to find the 
son following in the footsteps of the father at the present 
day. 4 

4 We refer to the following report of some observations made by the 
present baronet, as given in the Standard of July 24, 1872— 

" Sir B Peel — I wish to ask the Prime Minister a question springing 
out of that which has just been answered by the noble lord. It will be 


With amusing servility to English opinion the Nero York 
Times followed suit, and on the 30th of July declared 

in the recolbction of the house, that during the course of the present 
session many questions have been asked respecting the influx of Com- 
pnmists into this country, and we understand that the Government have 
instructed Lord Lyons to use his best exertions to prevent this in dux. 
No doubt the Communists are a very criminal class, but in many cases 
they are misguided, and the victims of circumstances. The question I 
have to put refers to an equally dangerous and obnoxious class. I refer 
to the order of the Jesuits. My question has reference to recent acts of 
spiritual power exercised in Ireland." 

We hope the right hon. member for Tamworth will not be obliged to 
put his partiality for the Communists to a practical test We should like 
to know very much the "circumstances" to which they have been victims. 
In default of all evidence we must believe that the Jesuits who have 
been expelled from Germany, without one single accusation being proved 
against them, the real victims. The allusion to the Galway trial is 
curious. Even Judge Keogh himself would be puzzled to make out any 
'•Jesuit influence" in that affair. The next thing, we suppose, will be 
to indict the order for it. It is strange how an English gentleman of ordi- 
nary education could be so hopelessly ignorant of cotemporary history. 

We find in the same number of the Standard the following civil 


remarks about eminent Catholics : — 

" The Pope tells us that now he has nothing to look to but the divine 
assistance. Prayer is the instrument which he depends on his followers 
to employ. How delightful a prospect this seems to promise for sober, 
order-loving citizens ; if the Pope and Cardinal Antonelli, the Von 
Kreuients and Von Kettelers, the Cullens and M 'Hales, could only 
devote themselves to prayer, we should be rid of the scandal of a number 
of men, clothed with the highest functions of religion, only opening 
their mouths to calumniate their neighbours, and picture their eternal 
damnation. Let them retire into their closets, and we should escape 
the pernicious influence which these men, by their influence over the 
ignorant masses, add to the other elements of disorganisation which now 
abound in the world." 


"The Jesuits and the International Society may now rank as tho 

two bugbears of the Courts of Europe." 

There were Whalleys and Newdegates in the House in 
th^se clays, and there probably will be until the advent of 
Macaulay's New Zealander. Mr Peel tried to calm their 
perturbed spirits by giving them some information con- 
cerning his interview with Dr Kenny; but he was neither 
sufficiently honourable nor sufficiently large-minded to give 
full details. 

O'Conneli's popularity was now rapidly approaching its 
highest point. At a meeting in Louth, 7th August 1813, a 
vote of thanks was proposed to him, James Kieran, Esq., 
being in the chair ; at Kilkenny the same compliment 
was paid to him, Captain Byran in the chair ; at Tralee, 
Dominick Rice, Esq., presided; at Wexford, Harry Lambert, 
Esq.; at Gal way, Lord Ffrench ; at Cork, John Galway, 
Esq. At the latter place O'Connell was chaired home after 
a public meeting, and addressed the people " from the 
windows of Laffin's, the hatter." 

On the 14th January 1815, the manufacturers of the 
Liberty of Dublin presented him with a silver cup, richly 

Faction has been the curse of Ireland, and it might be 
expected that O'Conneli's popularity would procure him 
many enemies. The class of men who now try to hunt 
down a Catholic justice of the peace, or custos rotulorum, 
by swearing informations, if he gives them even the ex- 



cuse of an indiscretion of language or action, were then 
ready and eager to shoot him down. It need not be said 
that duelling was the order of the day, and it was too 
often made an excuse for getting rid of a political op- 
ponent Even in elections, an attorney was selected quite 
as often with a view to his skill with pistols as to his skill 
with liis tongue.* 

• At an election for the county Wexford in 1810, when Messrs Alcock 
and Colclough were rival candidates, some tenants of a friend of Alcock 
declared their intention of voting for Colclough. " Receive their votes 
at your peril ! " exclaimed Alcock. Colclough replied that he had not 
asked their votes, and that he certainly would not be bullied into reject- 
ing them. Alcock thereupon challenged Colclough to fight ; they met 
on the next day; the crowd who assembled on the ground included 
many magistrates ; Colclough was shot through the heart — and Alcock, 
having thus got rid of his opponent, was duly returned for the county. 
He was tried at the next assizes for the murder of Colclough. Baron 
Smith publicly protested against finding him guilty, and the jury una- 
nimously acquitted him. 

"King Bagenal" was one of the most noted duellists of the day. 
He earned his sobriquet of king, from the extent of property which 
he possessed, and over which he ruled in most despotic fashion. 

It said that Bagenal accepted a challenge in his seventy-ninth year, 
only stipulating that he should fight sitting in his arm-chair; and 
that, as his infirmities prevented early rising, the meeting should take 
place in the afternoon. " Time was," said the old man with a sigh, 
" that I would have risen before daybreak to fight at sunrise — but we 
cannot do these things at seventy-eight. Well, Heaven's will be done ! " 

They fought at twelve paces. Bagenal wounded his antagonist severely; 
the arm of the chair in which he sat was shattered, but he escaped un- 
hurt ; and he ended the day with a glorious carouse, tapping the claret, 
we may presume as usual, by firing a pistol at the cask. 

The traditions of Dunleckny allege that when Bagenal, in the course 

2 E 


_ 1 ■ — — — — — 'W 

O'Connell's duel with D'Esterre was one of the most 
noted incidents in his eventful life; but it was the fact of 
O'Conneirs having fought the duel, and the consequences 
that ensued, which has made the event so famous, rather 
than any circumstances connected with its origin. 

The Catholic Board had been suppressed, and those 
members of the aristocracy who had sanctioned or sup- 
ported it hitherto, were at least very willing to withdraw 
from a position which promised them no immediate ad- 
vantage, and which compromised them in the opinions of 
the Protestant nobility. Their conduct was natural, if 
it was not national. They could not be expected to under- 

of his tour through Europe, visited the petty court of Mecklenburgh- 
Strelitz, the Grand Duke, charmed with his magnificence and the repu- 
tation of his wealth, made him an offer of the hand of the fair Charlotte, 
who, being politely rejected by King Bagenal, was afterwards accepted 
by King George III. 

For all levers of good horses, good dogs, and <xood wines, Dunleclmy 
was a terrestrial paradise. His stud was magnificent, and he had a large 
number of capital hunters at the service of visitors who were not pro- 
vided with steeds of their own. He derived great delight from encou- 
raging the young men who frequented his house to drink, hunt, and 
solve points of honour at twelve paces.* Enthroned at Dunleckny, he 
gathered around him a host of spirits congenial to his own. He had a 
tender affection for pistols ; a brace of saw-handles were often laid 
before him on the dinner-table. After dinner, the claret was produced 
in an unbroached cask. Bagenal's practice was to tap the cask with a 
bullet from one of his own pistols, whilst he kept the other in terrorem 
for any of the convives who should fail in doing ample justice to the 

* " Ireland and her Agitators," p. 6. 



6tand sufferings which they did not feel, nor to reseni 
Blights that were not offered to them. Their religion, 
indeed, taught them the duty of a deep, personal interest 
in the poor, and in all human suffering ; but there are not 
many who carry out practically to the fullest extent what 
they know in theory. They were, perhaps, unduly blamed 
by the leading agitators of the time; at least, there was 
scarcely sufficient allowance made for their position. 

Agitation, unless it is successful, is seldom considered 
respectable. Those men who had found their way to 
court, and who were now received on friendly terms by 
their equals in rank, did not care to have the contempt of 
failure thrown on them, or to mix themselves up with what 
was considered discreditable by those whose opinions they 
valued most. It was enough for them to bear the brand of 
a religion which they would not forsake, though they were 
fain to keep it out of sight. If to this stigma they added 
that of political discontent, and, above all, of any sympathy 
with their Irish fellow-subjects, if they were agitators, 
or their Catholic co-religionists if they were English, it 
would be an additional stigma which they did not feel 
disposed to bear. There are few things which men feel 
more than social discredit. Men who would die martyrs 
at the stake for their religion, if they were compelled to 
choose between apostacy and God, would be guilty of 
pitiful moral cowardice when some sneer or taunt was 
flung at them for it, or at those who were more faith- 


ful to it than themselves, and who belong to a race which 
the great ones of the world hold in undisguised contempt. 

In conseqoence of these difficulties O'Connell held a 
meeting in Capel Street in January 1815. The proceed- 
ings were conducted without any formality, the gentlemen 
merely entering their names in a book which was opened 
for the purpose. At another meeting held during the 
same month, and at the same place, O'Connell used these 
words : — 

"I am convinced that the Catholic cause has suffered by neglect 
of discussion. Had the petition been last year the subject of de- 
bate, we should not now see the beggarly Corporation of Dublin 
anticipating our efforts by a petition of an opposite tendency. The 
Duke of Sussex in the Lords, and Mr Whitbred in the Commons, 
appear to me persons worthy to be entrusted with our petition." 

Mr D'Esterre belonged to the Guild of Merchants. 
He had been at sea in his early life, and did not bear a 
very high character. During the mutiny of the Nore, he 
was tried by the sailors, and sentenced to be hanged. At 
the last moment they offered him his life if he would join 
them. The rope was then round his neck. With coarse 

courage he exclaimed, " Hang away, and be d d." 

They spared him, nevertheless ; he little thought, for what 
other death. 

The words used by O'Connell were scarcely sufficient 
even in those days for an affair of honour; very much 
stronger language was used with impunity by public men 
to each other, and condoned by public opinion, but Mr D'Es- 


terre had " method in his rudeness." He hoped for place 
and pension, and he was sure of his reward, if he obliged 
the Government by getting rid of their most formidable 
Opponent; probably, too, his petty vanity was gratified at the 
prospect of publicity, and as he was a first-rate shot, he 
had little apprehension as to the result. O'Connell was 
not a duellist ; he was eminently a man of peace. It has 
been the fashion with English writers to talk of him as a 
swaggering bravado — his conduct proved him precisely the 
reverse. He was then pre-eminently the peacemaker of 
the Catholic party in their early struggles, as he w r as pre- 
eminently the peacemaker in Ireland's most trying days. 
We are not about to justify O'Connell for fighting a duel, 
but if ever a duel could be justifiable, it was so in the cir- 
cumstances in which he was placed. 

D'Esterre did his pitiful best to make O'Connell the 
aggressor. He paraded Dublin day after day with a horse- 
whip in his hand, and coarse language in his tongue ; but 
O'Connell was too prudent to be caught by the wily Orange- 
man. Every gentleman was asking his friend significantly 
had " they " met yet ? The streets were thronged ; busi- 
ness was almost suspended ; the yelping cur was snapping 
at the heels of the lordly lion, but the lion kept his 

The civic authorities were gratified, though they dared not 
openly applaud just yet. D'Esterre's iriends hired the 
window of a house in Grafton Street, the fashionable and 



in some degree also the business resort of the day. Thej 
hoped to see D'Esterre horse-whip O'Connell; it does not 
seem to have occurred to them that there would be two 
actors in the performance — that, before the miserable 
aggressor could have lifted his whip, he would probably have 
found himself flung into the highway with one little effort 
of O'ConnelPs powerful arm. 

As D'Esterre could not .provoke an assault, he was 
obliged to send a challenge. On the 26th February 1815, 
he addressed O'Connell thus : — 

"11 Bachelors' Walk, 26th January 1815. 
" Sir, — Carrick's paper of the 23d instant (in its report of the 
debates of a meeting of Catholic gentlemen, on the subject of a peti- 
tion) states, that you have applied the appellation of beggarly to the 
corporation of this city, calling it a beggarly corporation — and there- 
fore, as a member of that body, and feeling how painful such is, I 
beg leave to inquire whether you really used or expressed yourself 
in any such language? I feel the more justified in calling on you 
on this occasion, as such language was not warranted or provoked by 
anything on the part of the corporation ; neither was it consistent 
with the subject of your debate, or the deportment of the other 
Catholic gentlemen who were present; and though I view it so in- 
consistent in every respect, I am in hopes the editor is under error, 
and not you. I have further to request your reply in the course oi 
the evening, and remain, sir, your obedient servant, 


" To Counsellor O'Connell, Merrion Square." 

Mr O'ConnelPs answer was as follows : — 

"Merrion Square, 27th January 1815. 
" Sir, — In reply to your letter of yesterday, and without either 
admitting or disclaiming the expression respecting the Corporation of 



Dublin in the print to which you allude, I deem it right to inform 
you that, from the calumnious manner in which the religion and 
character of the Catholics of Ireland are treated in that body, no 
terms attributed to me, however reproachful, can exceed the con- 
temptuous feelings I entertain for that body in its corporate 
iWttacity ; although doubtless it contains many valuable persons, 
whos* conduct as individuals (I lament) must necessarily be con- 
founded in the acts of a general body. I have only to add that 
this letter mast close our correspondence on this subject. — I am, 
<fcc, Ac., Daniel O'Connell." 

« To J. N. D"Esterre, Esq., 11 Bachelors' Walk." 

For some reason, by no means apparent, D'Esterre 
wished to continue the correspondence. He sent another 
letter to O'Connell, but though the handwriting was dis- 
guised, the author was suspected, and it was returned un- 
read by Mr James O'Connell. 

u On Sunday, Mr D'Esterre sent a note to Mr uames O'Connell, 
containing * disrespectful observations 9 on himself and his brother, 
and he scut his friend Captain O'Mullane to Mr D'Esterre to say, 
that after he adjusted his affair with his brother, he would bring him 
to account for his conduct to himself peculiarly. 

" Captain O'Mullane at the same time intimated, that Counsellor 
O'Connell was astonished at his not hearing in what he conceived the 
•proper way from Mr D'Esterre. 

"Nothing further happened on Sunday, and on Monday morning, 
Mr Lidwell, who remained here several days to be the friend of Mr 
O'Connell, though some members of his family were seriously indis- 
posed, left town for home, despairing of any issue being put to the 

" Monday passed on, and on Tuesday considerable sensation was 
created by a rumour, that Mr D'Esterre was advised to go to the- 
Four Courts, to offer Mr O'Connell personal violence. Neisher of 
the parties came in contact, but it seems that Mr D'Esterre was met 


on one of the quays by Mr Packard O'Gorman, who remonstrated 
with him by silting, that he conceived he was pursuing a very un- 
usual sort of conduct. 4 You conceive,' said he, 'that you received 
an offence from Mr O'Connell ; if so, your course is to demand 
satisfaction. This, I understand, you have not as yet done, but if 
you are now resolved to do it, I undertake, on forfeiture of having a 
riddle made of my body, to have Mr O'Connell on his ground in half 
an hour.' This occurred about three o'clock, but no challenge 
followed." 6 

The excitement increased every moment. O'Connell 
paraded the streets at four o'clock with a few friends, but 
such crowds surrounded him that he was obliged to retire 
into a private house. 

Judge Day now came to place him under arrest ; at the 
same time, he said, he would be satisfied if Mr O'Connell 
would pledge his honour to proceed no further in the 
business, which, considering that O'Connell w r as not the 
aggressor, was extremely considerate. 

O'Connell said what was true, that he was not the 
aggressor, and did not intend to be the aggressor. One of 
O'Connell' s friends who was present, the famous Barnejf 
Coile, said — 

" ' That it was very insulting that a ruffian should be allowed to 
parade the streets of Dublin during two days, in order to assault a 
worthy man who is the father of six children — and this without any 
hindrance or interruption from the magistrates.' 

" ' 1 hope, sir, you are satisfied,' said Judge Day, * that the lawa 
are competent to reach all such offenders.' 

6 Dublin livening Post, Full reports of each day's proceedings was 
given in this paper. 



"'By my bou],' replied Barney Coile, 'I am very well satisfied 
the laws can reach us if we transgress ; but during the two days he 
has been seeking to etfect a breach of the peace, the laws have not 
leached that fellow.'" 

At nine o'clock on Wednesday evening, Sir E. Stanley 
waned on O'Connell at his house in Merrion Square, and a 
hostile meeting was arranged, — O'Connell having secured 
the services of Major MacNamara. The place selected was 
Lord Ponsonby's demesne, about thirteen miles from 
Dublin, the time three o'clock in the afternoon. 

O'Connell was on the spot punctually, attended by his 
brother James, and some other friends. He was as cool 
and collected as if he were about to address a jury, instead 
of entering on a deadly conflict. As his carriage passed 
over a broken-down bridge, he turned to his brother James 
and said, " See, James, how little care they take of the 
lives of his Majesty's subjects." 

D'Esterre was later on the ground, which was white 
with snow. The seconds took some time making arrange- 
ments, and Sir Edward Stanley was in considerable per- 
turbation as to the result if O'Connell should fall, a 
consummation of which we may presume he had not the 
slightest doubt. Major MacNamara occupied himself 
giving O'Connell a number of directions. The Liberator 
could stand it no longer. " My dear fellow, I have one 
earnest request to make you," he said, addressing his 
second with that impressive solemnity which no man could 



better assume. The major listened for his friend's last words 
with evident anxiety. " Let me beg of you" — he paused 
— '* let me beg of you," he reiterated, " not to say another 
word to me until the duel is over." 

O'ConnelPs keen eye took in all around. He saw his 
tailor, Jerry Mac Car thy on the ground, and exclaimed, 
" Well, Jerry; I never missed you at an aggregate meet- 


The Dublin Evening Post of the day thus describes the 

last act of the tragedy : — 

" The friends of both parties retired, and the combatants, having 
a pistol in each hand, with directions to discharge them at their 
discretion, prepared to fire. They levelled, and before the lapse of 
a second both shots were heard. Mr D'Esterre fired first, and 
missed. Mr O'ConnelPs shot followed instantaneously, and took 
effect in the groin of his antagonist, about an inch below the hip. 
Mr D'Esterre, of course, fell, and both the surgeons hastened to 
him. They found that the ball had traversed the hip, passed 
through the bladder, and possibly touched the spine. It could not 
be found. There was an immense effusion of blood. All parties 
prepared to move towards home, and arrived in town before eight 
o'clock. We were extremely glad to perceive that Major MaeNa- 
mara and many respectable gentlemen assisted in procuring the 
best accommodation for the wounded man. They sympathised in 
his sufferings, and expressed themselves to Sir Edward Stanley as 
extremely well pleased that a transaction which they considered 
most uncalled for, had not terminated in the death of D'Esterre. 
We need not describe the emotions which burst forth along the road 
and through the town when it was ascertained that Mr O'Connell 
was safe." 

A body of cavalry was despatched to the scene of con- 


flict, but, either by accident or design, they arrived too late 
for active interference. It was generally believed at the 
time that they were sent for the purpose of protecting Mr 
D'Esterre in case he should have shot O'Connell. They met 
O'Connell's carriage returning, but did not recognise the 
occupants, and inquired if Mr O'Connell had been shot. Mr 
James O'Connell replied, " No ; Mr D'Esterre has unfor- 
tunately fallen." 

D'Esterre only lived a few days ; and to his latest breath 
O'Connell never forgave himself for the fatality. He 
pensioned the widow and daughter, and on one occasion 
conducted a case for Mrs D'Esterre in the law courts, at 
serious loss and inconvenience to himself. In after life, 
also, it was observed that he never passed the house once 
occupied by that gentleman, without raising his hat, and 
breathing a prayer for his eternal welfare. 

O'Connell was at first apprehensive of legal proceedings, 
but he received an early and polite assurance from Sir 
Edward Stanley that no such thing was contemplated. 
When the intelligence w r as brought to Archbishop Murray 
by Mr James O'Connell, he exclaimed, " God be praised ; 
Ireland is safe.'' Yet, much as Ireland would have 
mourned O'Connell's death even then, how little could 
even the most prescient have anticipated what he would yet 
do for her. 7 

7 As the party travelled back to Dublin they were all silent until near 
the city, when O'Connell said, " I fear he must be dead, he fell so 



In the year 1816 some agrarian outrages occurred, for 
which, of course, blame was laid on every one except those 
who were really guilty. The people, already crushed 
down to the lowest depths of poverty, were compelled to 
pay tithes, not, indeed, of what they had, but of what 
they had not. 

The unhappy peasantry were denounced, guilty or not 
guilty, and, of course, " the priests" were to blame. The u No- 
Popery" cry was always serviceable, and it was easily echoed. 
A Dublin Government paper had the following paragraph, 
which O'Connell quoted at a public meeting : — 

" I will lay before the reader such specimens of the popish super- 
stition as will convince him that the treasonable combinations 
cemented by oaths, and the nocturnal robbery and assassination 
which have prevailed for many years past in Ireland, and still exist 
in many parts of it, are produced as a necessary consequence by its 
intolerant and sanguinary principles" 

It was necessary to have something like a fact, to 
prove the assertion, and the fact was forthcoming in due 

The Eev. John Hamilton, an Orangeman, and a magi- 
strate, was Protestant curate of Roscrea. The Monaghan 

suddenly ; where do you think he was hit V 9 The docter replied, " In 
the head." " That cannot be," replied O'Connell ; " I aimed low ; it 
must have entered near the thigh." Mrs D'Esterre went to England 
with her daughter, and married a brother of Mr Guinness', the cele- 
brated brewer, and founder of the fortunes of the Guinness family. 
Miss D'Esterre, who was an accomplished musician, married a son of 
her Ftep-father, by his first wife. 


Militia, all Orangemen, were quartered there, and he 
devoted himself to superintending them as they scoured the 
country, playing party tune?, and doing their best to exas- 
perate the people. But the people would not be exasperated, 
and then a scheme of so diabolical a character was planned, 
that if there were not the evidence of a court of law to prove 
the facts, we might pardon any reader, Catholic or Pro- 
testant, for discrediting the whole narrative. 

Mr Hamilton deliberately set himself to get up a plot. He 
obtained the services of a villain named Dyer, who was only 
less contemptible than himself, because he only carried out 
"what his master planned. First, he swore that the Catholics 
had made a plot to murder all the Protestants, and that they 
held secret meetings for this purpose. A lie or two, more 
or less, did not matter, so he swore to time and place. These 
"startling disclosures" excited much alarm, but this was 
not sufficient. Dyer, or rather Mr Hamilton, wanted a 
victim. He had his eye on one, a respectable Catholic dis- 
tiller ; so he next proceeded to get a regular spy from 
Dublin. It was not difficult, for the Rebellion had provided 
a crop of infamous characters who lived on falsehood. 

The three worthies then arranged their plan. Evidently 
it was not the first plot of the kind which the " detective " 
had carried out. A straw figure was attired in a suit of 
Mr Hamilton's clothes, and placed sitting at the table on 
the ground-floor. The back was turned to the window ; the 
figure faced the table, on which lay an open Bible. Two 



candles were lighted, for as the deed required darkness out- 
side, it was done at night. Dyer and Halpin, the spy, fired 
at the figure through the window. The commotion was ter- 
rible ; it was soon known through the town that the rev. 
magistrate had been shot at while reading the Sacred Scrip- 
tures, and that he had made a most miraculous escape. 

As Mr Hamilton was a magistrate, he could act as he 
pleased, and he at once called out the militia, and had the 
Egans arrested. They were bailed out next morning 
with great difficulty ; but on the 11th July 1816, he arrested 
them again, and actually succeeded in having them brought 
to trial. A special commission was held in Clonmel. Lord 
Norbury and Baron George presided. Charles Kendal 
Burke, the Solicitor- General, was crown prosecutor. 

Dyer told his story admirably, and gave detailed evidence 
of the midnight meetings, the military exercises, and all 
the incidents necessary to complete the accusation. Some 
glimpses of light, however, were obtained in cross-examina- 
tion. It was proved that Dyer was in receipt of five shillings 
a week for suppressing evidence against Francis Cotton, who 
was tried for murder. The Eev. John Hamilton was the 
next witness. He had employed too many to help him in his 
villainous plot, and something of the truth was ascertained. 
On cross-examination he was obliged to admit the truth. Ho 
tried to excuse himself by adding subterfuge to falsehood, but 
it was useless. No attempt was made to punish him ; but 
Dyer was indicted for wilful and corrupt perjury. The 



grand jury, however, ignored the bill, and Dyer went forth 
on the world to plot new schemes for the destruction of 
innocent men. 

We do not hear, however, in those limes, evil as they 
were, that the most holy rites of religion were profaned for 
Inch purposes ; that method of treachery was reserved for 
our own time. 

In 1815, O'Connell was engaged in another "affair of 
honour," the circumstances of which were " singularly 
complicated," according to the public reports of the pro- 

O'Connell "dared" Mr Peel to attack him in his pre- 
sence, as he had attacked him behind his back. Sir Charles 
Saxton thereupon waited on O'Connell for his friend, Mr 
Peel. After a war of words, both colloquially and on 
paper, in which both parties seemed willing to avoid a 
hostile meeting, the hostile meeting was arranged by 
" friends," who were then unnecessarily obliging on such 

Sir Charles Saxton and Mr Lidwell, O'Connell's friends, 
contrived to get into a cross quarrel on their own account. 
In the meantime, the families of O'Connell and Lidwell 
became greatly alarmed. Mrs O'Connell gave information 
to the sheriff privately, and had her husband arrested. 
Miss Lidwill protected her father in the same way. 

The following squib on the subject was attributed to C 
J. Burke, Esq. : — 



" Our heroes of Erin escape from the slaughter, 
By reversing the Hebrew command, 
One honours his wife, and the other his daughter, 
That their days may be long in the land." 

Meanwhile Sir Charles Saxton and Mr Peel had left the 
country. O'Connell was hound to keep the peace, under a 
penalty of £10,000. O'Connell, however, procured an- 
other friend, Mr Bennet, and they arranged to have a 
meeting at Ostend. Peel was mortally afraid of the result. 
It was known now that O'Connell was one of the "best 
shots in Ireland, and the fate of D'Esterre was already 
fresh in the public mind. 

O'Connell reached London safely, but every effort was 
being made to capture him. A Mr Lidwill, who was sin- 
gularly like him, was seized. This gentleman was a pro- 
vision merchant, and occupied the house which had 
belonged to D'Esterre. In Calais, another unfortunate 
gentleman was seized also. 

Mr Peel's father, however, had sharpened the wits of 
the London police by an offer of fifty guineas each to those 
who would succeed in capturing O'Connell ; and on the 
morning of the 19th September they broke into the hotel 
m the Strand at four o'clock, and captured him as he 
was preparing to start for Dover. O'Connell was again 
bound over to keep the peace, and returned at once to 

Mr Lidwill and Sir Charles Saxton had a meeting at 
Calais, where Mr Lidwill, who had been the challenger. 


received Sir Charles Saxton's fire, and then discharged his 
own pistol in the air. 

In 1819, O'Connell wrote his first public letter to the 
people of Ireland. During the preceding year, the 
country had been in a fearful state of distress and excite- 
ment. When the war ceased, the high prices obtained for 
provisions fell at once, but the Irish landlords still insisted 
on obtaining the high rents. The result was necessarily 
disturbance; but Mr Peel projected and perfected a plan by 
which the cries of the people might be stifled, no matter 
how great the cause which drew them forth. " In Ireland," 
said Mr Peel, when he proposed his measure to the English 
house, " in Ireland, they do not possess the greatest of all 
blessings — a resident gentry having a community of in- 
terest with the cultivators of the soil." So, as they had 
not this blessing, he determined to give one of his own 
fashioning, and he sent them 25,000 armed constables. 
In consequence of this singular method of supplying an 
acknowledged want, and in memory of the originator of the 
echeme. these men obtained the sobriquet of " Peelers." 

There was a trial about the same period in England, at 
which eminent counsel were engaged on both sides. Dis- 
content was general in that country also, though there 
was infinitely less cause for it than in Ireland. A Dr 
Watson excited a riot for which he was tried. The 
Attorney- General and the Solicitor-General were counsel 
for the Crown ; the latter, Sir Robert Gifford, was held in 

2 v 



very high esteem by the legal gentlemen of the period. 
Watson was defended by Sir Charles Wetherell, an ultra 
Tory, but he had been disappointed by the Government, 
and, for the nonce, was prepared to defend his client con 
amove, and with an energy beyond what mere professional 
duly required. He was assisted by Mr Sergeant Copley, 
better known as Lord Lyndhurst. 

A spy had been employed in the case, but it was proved 
at the trial that he was a man of infamous character, as 
such men always are. Sir Charles Wetherell asked the 

"Will ycu suffer the purity of British jurisprudence to depend 
upon the credit of that indescribable villain 1 Will you add to the 
bloody memory he has already earned 1 Will you encourage the trade 
and merchandise of a man who lives on blood 1 Will you — the 
guardians and protectors of British law — will you suffer death to be 
de&lt out by him as he pleases?" 

The jury gave evidence of their opinion by acquitting the 
man whose life had been so cruelly sworn away. It was 
only in Ireland that men like Mr Hamilton, who were 
at once perjurers and spies, were allowed to "deal out 
death " as they pleased, and where villains like Dyer and 
his companions were acquitted by Orange juries. 

Cjjaptcr (Tnitjj. 






j^taD RATTAN died in 1820 ? and 
Wr OTonnell took the oppor- 
tunity of a public meeting for 
V v promoting the election of his 
son as member for Dublin, to 
pronounce a magnificent panegyric on 
bis virtue and devotion to Ireland. He 
quoted on this occasion Grattan's own mem- 
orable expression, " He watched by the 
cradle of his country's greatness, and he 
followed her hearse;" and then reverting 
fl jjl to his favourite subject, the assistance given by 
Protestants, he added, " Who shall now speak 
to me of religious animosity ? To any such I will answer, 



by pointing to the honoured tomb of Grattan, and I will 
say, There sleeps a man, a member of the Protestant com- 
munity, who died in the cause of his Catholic fellow- 
countrymen !" 

In the conclusion of his speech, he adverted to the effort 
to excite dissension which was made by some of the oppo- 
site candidate's party, who boasted of wearing Orange 
favours, and asked, Who was the most loyal man, the one 
who would unite the people round the throne in peace and 
harmony, or the one who would weaken the resources of 
the constitution by excluding their fellow-subjects from 
its advantages ? He concluded by begging the people to do 
their duty, and to let their motto be, 6i Grattan and 

George IV. had succeeded to the throne in this year, 
and was actively employed in the prosecution of his un- 
happy Queen. His accession was made the occasion for a 
fi loyal address" from the Government party in Ireland, 
ana a public assembly was convened for the purpose of 
adopting it. The Court-house at Kilmainham, near 
Dublin, was selected as the place of meeting, and a guard 
of fifty policemen was stationed at the door. As Lerd 
Howth and the other promoters of the proceedings ap» 
pruached the spot, they were more alarmed than gratified to 
see crowds hastening along the roads. But even then they 
were not prepared for what followed. The moment the doors 
were opened, the people crushed in, bearing all before them 



li"ke a raging sea; the police were too few for resistance; 
and in the end, Lord Howth, Lord Frankford, the Sheriff, 
the county members, and Judge Day, were lifted in through 
the open windows on chairs by the police. 

This proceeding did not tend to quiet the assembly, and 
the speeches could not be heard for shouts, and groans, and 
car-calls, and hurricanes of ironical applause. 

O'Connell and his friends had placed themselves in the 
centre of the hall. He rose up in his giant strength, both 
physical and moral, and declared his dissent. The Sheriff' 
asked, was he a freeholder ? He replied: — 

" I am a freeholder of this county. I have a hereditary property 
which, probably, may stand a comparison with the person's who in- 
terrogates me ; and I have a profession which gives me an annual 
income greater than any of the personages who surround the chair 
are able to wring from the taxes." 

A fierce dispute followed; the aristocratic party contrived 
to nominate their own chairman. Lord Cloncurry now 
joined the people, for reasons of his own, and he was nomi- 
nated by them. In the height of the dispute the Sheriff 
contrived to slip out of the court-house and to call in the 
military, whom he had stationed outside without the 
knowledge of the people. Their indignation, when they 
found themselves treated in this fashion, may well be 
imagined. It was, indeed, a sharp, practical commentary 
on the " liberty of the subject " in Ireland. The subject 
abhorred the conduct of the king, and was only desirous 



of expressing his abhorrence, if he were obliged to speak 
at all. The rulers of the subject were determined to send 
up a congratulatory address in the name of the subject, 
and were naturally very indignant that he should dare to 
thwart their plans. 

The court was soon cleared. Lord Cloncurry remained 
on the bench where the people had placed him. The 
soldiers, obeying orders, drew their swords at him, and 
pressing forward, forced him from his place, Lord Clon- 
curry having determined that he would yield only to 

But O'Connell was not so easily baffled. It was, in- 
deed, illegal to hold an open-air meeting, but there was 
a tavern opposite the court-house. O'Connell placed the 
chairman under cover, and the meeting proceeded. Mr 
Burne, a king's counsel, took a prominent part in the 
affair on the popular side. He now addressed the multi- 
tude, and proposed an address. But he looked for it in 
vain. He plunged his hands into one pocket and then 
into another ; he looked hither and thither. His address 
was gone, lost in tbe fray, or dexterously filched from 
him. O'Connell asked what he was looking for. "The 
address," he stated. " What has become of the address ? " 
" Oh, here it is," replied O'Connell, quietly putting a 
paper in his hands which he had, and which was adopted, 
and which was written by O'Connell himself. There were 
some strong expressions in itj which had not been in 


Burne's copy; for instance, the prosecution of the Queen 
was denounced as " unconstitutional and dangerous."' 

History does not say if O'Connell had anything to do 
with the abstraction of the original address, so we may 
leave him the benefit of the doubt. On the 2d of July 
1821, O'Connell held another meeting, " to consider the 
best steps to be taken as to the outrage on Saturday at 

The Protestant nristocratic party convened another 
assembly of their own. An eccentric Protestant clergy- 
man, Sir Harcourt Lees, wrote a letter to the public papers, 
in which he said — 

" I have just returned from one of the most numerous and respect- 
able meetings of Protestant noblemen and gentlemen of the county 
of Dublin ever assembled together, for the purpose of assuring a 
deeply-injured sovereign of their inviolable attachment to his 
augiiat person and the constitution of the British empire." 

But Sir Harcourt was not at the meeting. His appear- 
ance was remarkable, and he had been actually seen by a 
considerable number of persons in a different place. He 
took ihe accusation of falsehood very coolly, and only advised 
his censor " to purchase a telescope, and watch his move- 
ments with more attention in future." 

O'ConnelTs " pastoral " letter for the year of grace 1821 
excited an immense commotion. Mr Shiel was just then 
making his appearance in public life, and either from 
personal vanity, or a desire to break a lance with a man so 


famous as the Liberator, he ventured the dangerous experi- 
ment of attacking him. The result was not encouraging 
for a second attempt. Few men have been possessed of 
O'Connell's power of dissecting an adversary, and then 
holding up to public ridicule, on his scalpel, the choicest 
morsels of his opponent's slaughtered eloquence, 
O'Connell's letter commenced thus : — 

To the Catholics of Ireland. 

" Merrion Square, Dublin, "ist January 1821. 

" Fellow-Countrymen, — After another year of unjust degrada- 
tion and oppression, I again address you. We have lived, another 
year, the victims of causeless injustice. Our lives wear away, and we 
still continue aliens in our native land. Everything changes around 
us. Our servitude alone is unaltered and permanent. 

" The blood runs cold, and the heart withers, when we reflect on 
the wanton prolongation of our sufferings. The iron sinks into our 
very souls at the helpless and hopeless nature of our lot. To the 
severest of injuries is added the most cruel of insults, and we are 
deprived of the miserable consolation of thinking that our enemies 
deem themselves justified by any necessity or any excuse for con- 
tinuing our degradation. 

"No, my fellow-countrymen, no; there is no excuse for the in- 
justice that is done us. There is no palliation for the iniquitous 
system under which we suffer. Tt contradicts the first right of 
men and Christians — the right of worshipping our God according 
to the dictates of our conscience. Nay, this odious system gee* 
farther; it converts the exercise of that right into a crime, and it 
inflicts punishment for that which is our first and most sacred duty 
— to worship our Creator in the sincerity of conscience. 

" For this crime, and for this crime alone, we are punished and 
degraded— converted into an inferior class in our native land, and 



doomed to perpetual exclusion. Our enemies cannot accuse us of 
any other offence — other crime we have committed none. Even 
the foolish charge of intemperance — a charge which was only a 
symptom of that contempt in which our enemies hold us — even the 
aljfiiud accusation of intemperance is now abandoned, and our de- 
gradation continues without necessity, without excuse, without 
pretence, without palliation." 

He then showed them how some M honest men 99 might 
be deluded into the belief that the profession of the Catho- 
lic religion was inconsistent with civil or religions liberty. 
He showed from the history of the past, and the annals of 
the present, how utterly unfounded this theory was. Pie 
stated that France had a Protestant prime minister, who, 
if he were in England, could not lill the office of a parish 
constable without swearing that the mass was impious, 
and he who heard it an idolater. 

O'Connell's object was simply to keep his countrymen 
from sinking into the apathy of indifference or despair, an 
apathy which would have been hopelessly fatal to a people 
who had not yet obtained more than a modicum of freedom. 
His reply to Sbiel must have produced laughter even 
while it reiterated the arguments of the letter which that 
gentleman had so unwisely attacked. " Truly, I am at a 
toss," replied CTConnell, " to know how I could have pro- 
voked the tragic wrath and noble ire of this iambic rhapso- 

However O'Connell may have been at a loss on this 
subject, he certainly was never at a loss for a stinging 


epithet, and Mr Shiel's rhapsody had deserved one. 8 lie 
called O'Connell u a flaming fragment," "lava," u a straw 
in ambre," "a rushlight with a fitful fire," "a sophist 
drowning in confutation," " a column of fiery vapour and 
heterogeneous materials." Mr Shiel's appellations were 
certainly " heterogeneous," and it is difficult to understand 
how a man who has left so much el aquence on record, could 
have written such rubbish. O'Connell's shrewd conjecture 
that " he was not half so mad as he pretended to be," is 
probably the key to the enigma. 

The whole controversy arose out of O'Oonnell's objec- 
tion to Mr Plunket's policy. After Grattan's death, and 
indeed for some time previous, Mr Plunket was looked 
upon as the leader of the Liberal party in the House of 
Commons, or rather of such members of the Liberal party 
as were disposed to grant any measure of relief to Ireland. 
Mr Plunket was, on the whole, a disinterested patriot, but 
he could not understand the position or the necessities of 
those he desired to benefit, as O'Connell did. He was 
anxious to obtain some measure of relief for Irish Catholics, 
or, to speak more correctly, for the Irish nation, for the 
nation was Catholic ; but he could not understand, and pro- 
bably no Protestant could understand, that the Irish nation 
would accept no temporal relief however desirable, however 

8 Shiel's famous speech in reply to Lord Lyndhurst's statement that 
"the Irish were aliens in blood, in birth, and in religion," was one of 
those chosen tor recitation at Harrow on the last speech day. 


necessary, at the expense of their spiritual interests. Mat- 
ters, which to him were trifles, or at best mere questions of 
opinion, were to them of vital importance. He forgot, or 
lie could not he made to understand, that ever}' detail of 
their religion was all important, because with them reli- 
gion was not a matter of opinion, but an object of faith. 

They believed that the Pope was the divinely-appointed 
Vicar of Christ upon earth, that to his authority they were 
obliged to submit in all things spiritual, not because he 
happened to be good or wise, gifted or powerful, but 
because of an immutable decree which they read in Holy 
Writ, " Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build 
my Church. " For every article of their faith they had 
been persecuted to death for years ; they were still per- 
secuted, not, indeed, to death, but in every position and 
action of life. It was natural, then, they should look with 
no little suspicion on any concession, however desirable, 
to which conditions were attached, which, if they did not 
actually compromise articles of faith, had at least the 
appearance of doing so. 

But there were few men who grasped the bearings of the 
ivholo subject with O'Connell's precision. He saw the 
insidious nature of the concession, which required that the 
appointment of Catholic prelates should be placed in Pro- 
testant hands, and he set himself to oppose it with a vigour 
which was strengthened and inspired by his perfect know- 
ledge of the danger. 


0' Conn ell's letters on this subject are not less remark- 
able for legal acumen than for theological learning. Ha 
knew his religion with that intelligent knowledge which is 
at once the support and the source of faith. It has been, 
indeed, objected to him that he was too fond of theological 
discussions, but the objection was rarely made save by those 
who were unable to meet his arguments. 

These letters of 0' Council's were written on circuit, and 
forwarded to the Evening Herald in small portions as they 
were written. 

In his first letter he says : "Mr Plunket's two bills are 
at length before you." He then proceeds to analyse the 
bills with a master hand. The first Act, he said, was cei 
tainly a relief bill ; u if it stood alone it would be received 
with delight by every rational Catholic." Yet he showed that 
the Act was liable to misconstruction, and hence to failure. 
It did not repeal the penal laws, although it was proposed 
with a view to destroying the effects of these statutes. The 
simpler method undoubtedly would have been to repeal 
them, but parliamentary legislation is seldom characterised 
by simplicity. Besides, there would have been infinite 
difficulty in effecting such a measure. The " moral con- 
sciousness " of that class of men who erect themselves into 
personal sources of infallibility in religious belief would 
have been shocked. The bigots of the day were numerous 
and powerful. They complained, indeed, bitterly of the 
arrogant claims of the Papacy. But they were hopelessly 



ignorant; for there is no ignorance so hopeless as that 
which lias its source in prejudice. Their own infallibility 
was to them so certain, that it was, indeed, the only part 
of their creed in which they believed as of Divine right* 
Yet if you asked these men to tell you the grounds on 
which they asserted their infallibility, they could not do 
60. If you a^ked them why, in the name of common 
sense, they would not permit the right of private judgment 
to their Catholic fellow-creatures, why they would not allow 
them the same liberty of belief which they took care to 
secure for themselves, they could give no rational answer. 

To say that Popery was false because they thought it 
false, was no argument. Where or from whom did they 
get the right to decide so momentous a position? and where 
and from whom did they get the right to subject a fellow- 
creature to any persecution — social, moral, or physical, 
because he did not believe in their opinions ? 

It would seem, indeed, as if persecution were the only 
proof they had to offer of the truth of their doctrine, and 
the very power to persecute supported them in their self- 
righteous delusion. 

But if Mr Plunket's first Act promised relief, his second 
Act was such as to prevent any Catholic from accepting iL 

O'Connell analysed it thus : — 

" Before I proceed to speak of this second Act in the terms it 
merits, I will give a brief and accurate statement of its contents ; 
and I begin with the title. It is called an Act " To regulate tJie 


intercourse between persons in holy orders professing the Roman 
Catholic religion with the see of Rome. 3 This title is broken Eng- 
lish and bad grammar. But it is infinitely worse. It has all the 
characteristics of complete falsehood — the 4 suppressio veri,' the 
4 suggestio falsi.' Truth is suppressed, because the principal object 
of the bill does not relate to such intercourse at all ; but is to give 
to the secretary of the Lord Lieutenant the absolute appointment of 
all the bishops and all the deans of the Catholic Church in Ireland. 
Falsehood is suggested — because this is not a bill to regulate the 
intercourse (for regulate means, 4 to order by rule'), but it is a bill 
to control, according to caprice, that intercourse, and to control it 
according to the caprice of a Protestant Secretary of State. It is in 
this respect a bill to suppress the necessary intercourse upon matters 
of faith and discipline between that part of the Catholic or universal 
Church of Christ which is in Ireland, and the Pope or visible head 
upon earth of that Church. n 

It was no matter of surprise that O'Connell should write 
strongly upon this subject, for, from the time of Patrick, 
when Ireland had been converted by him to the Faith, in- 
tercourse with the Holy See had been kept up with unvary-? 
ing affection. If the intercourse of discipline had ceased, 
the intercourse of communion would have ceased, and Ire- 
land would have been no longer Catholic. To effect this 
was undoubtedly the object of many of the promoters of tha 

But the oath which was required from the Catholic 
clergy in connection with this bill was not its least objec- 
tionable feature. The language used was ambiguous ; but 
O'Connell showed that whatever might be said of Catholics 
by their enemies, they at least must keep an oath sacredly. 



There could be no mental reservations, no evasions, no non- 
natural interpretation; the oath must be taken in the sense 
in which the framers intended it to be taken. No Catholic 
could take an oath as many Protestants signed the thirty- 
nine articles of their Church ; and if a Catholic were guilty 
of such evasion, the Protestant who practised it himself 
would be the very first to denounce him for it. 

In his third letter, O'Connell shows that if this bill 
passed, the Catholic clergy would be actually obliged to 
derive their faculties from the Government. He does 
not use the word, probably because he knew that it would 
not be understood in its technical sense by those whom he 
addressed, but his argument goes to show this. 

The sixteenth section of the Act required — 

"That every person who bhall hereafter be nominated to 
the office of bishop or dean, in the Catholic Church in Ireland, 
/shall, BEFORE Jiis consecration or acting as such, give notice to the 
Secretary of the Lord-Lieutenant, and that he shall not be consecrated 
or exercise any functions of bi&hop or dean if such Secretary of the 
Lord- Lieutenant shall inform him in writing that he is con- 

The eighteenth section made it an indictable offence to 
exercise any part of the functions of a dean or bishop, 
without having on his nomination signified the same to 
the Castle, or after he has been disapproved of by the 

Many numbers of the Protestant Established Church 



complained even then of their bondage to the State, but it 
was a trifle to the bondage which the State sought to exer- 
cise towards the Catholics. 

According to the divinely-appointed discipline of the 
Catholic Church, no man can exercise the sublime func- 
tions of his office, even after his ordination, without receiv« 
ing an express permission to do so from the bishop of the 
diocese in which he wishes to exercise these functions. The 
granting of this permission is technically called giving 
faculties. A priest, by virtue of his ordination, has 
always the power to celebrate Mass ; an apostate priest has 
still this power, even as the apostate Judas was permitted 
to be the means of sacrificing his Master; but no priest can 
celebrate Mass unless he has permission or faculties from his 
bishop, without being guilty of canonical irregularity. And, 
further, so strict are the regulations of the Church in all 
that relates to her divine functions, that no priest can say 
Mass in any other diocese than his own, without permission 
from the bishop of the diocese, or in any parish but his 
own without the further permission of the parish priest. 

The Government now desired to usurp this right, and 
inflict pains and penalties on those who dared to resist Its 

But there was a yet further, and a yet more grievous 


The Catholic priest cannot administer the sacraments, 
cannot hear a confession or give an absolution, without 


faculties from his ecclesiastical superiors. He lias the 
power, by virtue of his ordination, but he has not the right 
to exercise the power. 

The life of the Catholic priest is one long warfare with 
t lie world, the flesh, and the devil. He is enlisted a sol- 
dier of the Church militant, by his ordination, but as a good 
soldier, he must act under orders. There can be no con- 
fusion in the great camp of God's army, and he who 
introduces confusion does the sinner's work. 

There is one exception, and one only, in which the 
Catholic priest may exercise his divinely-given power with- 
out special permission from his divinely-appointed rulers. 
It is in the case of danger of death. When the enemy of 
bouIs is making his supreme effort to snatch his prey, the 
6oldier needs no longer wait for permission to act. On the 
wayside, in the crowded mart, on the trackless ocean, 
wherever there is a human soul to save, or help in its 
awful passage from time to eternity, there and then the 
Catholic priest must do his office, must give the parting 
soul all the help the Church provides for his perilous 
journej. This is one of the most sacred privileges of the 
priest, and of this privilege — nay, rather of this divine 
right — the new act not only deprived him, but threatened 
him with cruel penalties if he exercised it. 

The bill began with the higher clergy; had it been 
passed, the history of English persecution of Irish Catholics 
leaves no doubt that its restraints would soon have descended 



to the lower. The original Ye to resolution referred only to 
bishops. Mr Plunket's bill had descended to deans. 

It was idle to say that the Catholic sacraments were 
superstitious, that a Catholic dean who had not " faculties" 
from Government, might let the poor sinner who needed 
his services die unshrived and unannealed; the whole ques- 
tion resolved itself for the Catholic into one single point.; 
he could not sacrifice that which he believed to be of divine 
right for any human consideration whatsoever. 

With regard to those who attempted to enforce on others 
that which thay would not have submitted to themselves 
for a single moment, it was merely a n atter of intellectual 
obtuseness or unphilosophical bigotry. For a man to stand 
before his fellow-men with the Bible in his hand, and pro- 
claim liberty of conscience to his fellow-men, to accept his 
interpretation of the Bible and no other, is to place him- 
self on a throne of individual infallibility ; for if he be not 
individually infallible, by what right does he require others 
to submit to his opinions ? For a man to enforce these 
opinions by any penal law, however trifling, is an act ot 
the grossest injustice. 

Mr Plunket's bills passed the Lower House, but, happily 
for Ireland, they were thrown out in the Upper House upon 
the second reading. 

Early in July 1821, it was publicly announced that the 
king would visit Ireland, and O'Connell drew up a form of 
requisition for a Catholic meeting, to consider an address. 


But the Catholic nobiUty were entirely opposed to O'Con- 
nell's plans. They were fearful of compromising their 
position in any way ; they had little to gain by an amelio- 
ration of the general position of their religious brethren, 
and were naturally anxious to identify themselves as little 
as possible with a proscribed creed. 

George IV. was crowned on the 1 9th of July 1821. On 
the 10th of July, the Privy Council had refused the appeal 
of the Queen to be crowned with him. With that stubborn 
resolution which she displayed invariably at the wrong 
time, and in the wrong fashion, she did her pitiful best to 
obtain access to Westminster Abbey. On the 16fh, she 
informed the Duke of Norfolk, as earl-marshal, that she 
intended to take her place, and requested that persons 
should be in attendance to conduct her to her seat. She 
Bent a further message to say that she would be at the 
Abbey by eight o'clock; but she was there at six, the most 
forlorn and wretched woman in all that great city. Lord 
Hood was with her, and a faithful friend, but she was re- 
pulsed at every door. One or two kindly voices exclaimed, 
" The Queen for ever!" but the multitude hissed and cried, 
"Shame, shame! go to Bergamo!" 9 It was the last 
blow, and the death-blow. She knew now what her few 
friends had known for long enough, that she would never 
be crowned Queen of England. 

» Twiss's " Life of Lord Eldon." vol. ii. p. 48. 


She entered the carriage weeping "bitterly, and she went 
borne to die. 

The King, in the meantime, had set out for Ireland. It 
is difficult to see what could have been his object in this 
visit. It may have been personal popularity, but it is 
doubtful if George IV. had sufficient intellect to act on 
any preconcerted plan, even to attain that end. He heard 
of the Queen's danger with the utmost unconcern ; only he 
had the decency to delay his voyage to Ireland, and to ar- 
range that if he should arrive there before her death his 
entry should be private. 1 

The King landed at Howth on the 12th of August. He 
occupied himself during the passage eating goose-pie, 
drinking whisky, and singing songs, and on his arrival he 
was in the last stage of intoxication. 2 Such delinquencies 
were, however, easily condoned in royalty. He was driven 
to the Viceregal Lodge in the Phoenix Park, and the city 
gave way to exuberant loyalty. It was something to have 

1 Knighton's Memoirs, p. 91. — " The King was nearly lost off' the 
Land's End, in one of the yachting expeditions in which he whiled away 
the time. He thus described his danger : — ' The oldest and most expe- 
rienced sailors were petrified and paralysed.' " 

2 " The passage to Dublin was occupied in eating goose-pie and 
drinking whisky, in which his Majesty partook most abundantly, sing- 
ing many joyous songs, and being in a state, on his arrival, to double in 
sight even the numbers of his gracious subjects assembled on the pier 
to receive him. The fact is, he was in the last stage of intoxication ; 
however, they got him to the Park."— Letter from Mr Freemantle ta 
the Marquis of Buckingham— Memoirs of the Court of George IV., voL i 
p. 194. 



a king in Ireland once more, and a king who bad come 
with liberal promises. 

In tbe meantime, while all this demonstrative loyalty 
was being rendered in Ireland, some of the King's English 
subjects were showing their dislike of his neglect of the 
decencies of life in allowing his Queen to be buried in con- 
tempt. Sir Robert Wilson was made the scapegoat, and on 
the king's return he was dismissed from tbe army. 

The king remained in retirement a few days, and then 
presented himself in state to his Irish subjects. The 
pageant was arranged for the 17th of August, and such a 
pageant, viewed from point of numbers and enthusiasm, 
was probably never witnessed — Ireland certainly had never 
seen its like. 

The King went in royal procession from one of the finest 
parks in the world to the finest street in the world. He 
passed through Phibsborough, then a part of the country, 
now a continuation of Dublin, through Eccles Street, 
and into Cavendish Row, skirting Rutland Square, and 
entering at the Rotunda. Here, at the head of Sackville 
Street, a pleasant fiction was enacted. A barrier of ever- 
greens was attached to a wooden frame, so as to shut out 
the view of that noble street, and a gate was left in the bar- 
rier or verdant wall, where further progress was denied his 
Majesty, until he had obtained the freedom of the city from 
the Mayor. After the usual ceremonies, carried out with 
the utmost punctilio and with the most magnificent decora* 



tions, the gates were thrown open, and the King permitted 
to enter. 

The sight he witnessed was such as had seldom gladdened 
monarch's heart before. A roar of triumph and welcome 
rose up to the blue heaven above from thousands and tens 
of thousands of people. All the chivalry, all the passion- 
ate loyalty, all the delicate courtesy which ever welcomed a 
stranger — and which can scarcely refuse that welcome even 
to an enemy — had found at last an outlet. They had heard, 
indeed, of kings who ruled over them, of Williams and 
Georges, who were said to govern by the grace of God, but 
who were only known to them by acts which seemed to 
savour a good deal more of the malignity of the devil. 
Here was the King ; in person noble, in manner gracious, 
with just that happy blending of conscious royalty with 
what passed current for the time as affectionate condescen- 

The air was rent with acclamations, and the monarch 
enhanced the favour of his kingly presence a thousand-fold 
by clasping to his heart the large bunch of shamrocks which 
he wore. 1 or the time, probably, he was moved ; he could 
not but be moved by their demonstration of loyalty. How 
were this trusting people to know that the shamrocks would 
be flung aside in a few brief hours for a carouse with the 
mistress who accompanied him, and with whom he scan- 
dalously kept company at the Viceregal Lodge. 

Sackrille Street is, as we have said, the finest street in 



the world. Its length, three-eighths of a mile, and its 
breadtli of 120 feet, is only broken by Nelson's pillar, 
which faces the Post-Office, a noble building. Its houses 
are fairly regular, and of considerable height. Now the 
multitudes who thronged the streets left only space for 
the passage of the royal equipage, in which the King con- 
tinued standing as it passed along, bowing, with a grace 
peculiarly his own, and pointing histrionically to his heart 
and to his shamrock. Every " coin of vantage " was lite- 
rally occupied. Even the very capital which supported the 
statue of Nelson on its pillar, which shoots up 134 feet 
into the air, had its occupants. The frontage of the Post- 
Office was crowded, and gaily-dressed ladies thought them- 
selves happy to find a place on the architrave above. The 
procession passed over Carlisle Bridge, and then wended 
its way through the College Green and Dame Street to the 

Even the higher classes were affected by the general 
outburst of loyalty, and very large sums of money were 
subscribed (on paper) to build a royal residence. It was 
agreed that a million of money should be raised through 
the country for the same purpose from the unhappy peasan- 
try. Fortunately for them, the scheme fell through when 
the King left Ireland, and when it was found that the 
noblemen who had been so liberal of their promises were 
by no means willing to carry them into execution. 

O'Conuell promised to contribute twenty guineas a year 



to the fund, but his subscription was never required. On 
the King's departure he presented him with a laurel crown. 
Tt was reported in the English papers that the King had 
given O'Connell his cap in return, a statement which 
O'Connell indignantly denied. 

The King sailed away from the Irish shores, leaving after 
him a loyal and contented, because impressionable nation. 
There is not on the earth a people so easily deceived as the 
Irish, because their natural bonhommie leads them to trust, 
and their natural buoyancy of character leads them to 

How their trust was betrayed, and their hopes shattered, 
are too well known to need record here. The King left 
the country a lecture on unity, and a compliment on their 
loyalty, in the shape of a letter from Lord Sidmouth to 
the Lord-Lieutenant ; and so the royal visit ended. He 
embarked at Dunleary, a village then, a town now, and 
so called from Laog/iaire, a famous Irish monarch. It has 
since been called Kingstown. 

But though the King was obliged to receive the laurel 
crown from O'Connell, his hatred of the bold advocate of 
Irish rights was unabated. After the Emancipation Act 
had passed, O'Connell presented himself at a levee in 
London. He approached the royal presence with the usual 
ceremonies, but as he saw " the royal lips moving," he 
advanced, believing that he was addressed. Whatever the 
King had said was inaudible, so O'Connell kissed hands 


and passed on. In a few days some curious reports ap- 
peared in the papers. It was said the King had used some 
strong language, which was not unusual ; it was said also 
that he had cursed some one at the levee, which was un- 
usual ; and more, that the individual favoured by the royal 
anathema was Irish. O'Connell met the Duke of Norfolk 
60011 after, and asked if he could explain the newspaper 
reports. " Yes,'' he replied, " you are the person alluded 
to. The day you were at the levee, his Majesty said, as 
you were approaching, 4 There is O'Connell. G — d — the 
scoundrel ! ' " 8 

When speaking of George IV. 's visit to Ireland, O 1 Con- 
nellys opinion of the royal visitor was by no means compli- 
mentarv. He described him then " as bein<>- a most 
hideous object ;" though in 1 794 i; he was a remarkably 
handsome, fine man," and " a very fine-looking fellow." 
O'ConueH's opinion of his appearance in 1820 may have 
been influenced by the fact that he was humbugged by 
royalty, although he stoutly declared the contrary. If 
O'Connell softened a little in the presence of royalty, it 
was because he was Irish, and had imbibed the trusting 
nature of the Celt with his mother's milk. It was not to 
his discredit that he should have believed " the greatest 
liar in England " for a time, when more experienced men 
were equally deceived. 4 

1 " Personal Recollections of O'Connell." By O'Neil Daunt. 

4 O'Connell used often to relate the well-known anecdote cf Fox and 



There is no doubt that the King was carried away either 
by the enthusiasm of the people or by his copious libations 
of whisky during his Irish, visit. 5 He found himself in an 
uncomfortable position on his return from Germany, 
whither he had proceeded after his visit to Ireland ; but 
the discomfort was of short continuance, Irish opinion was 
of too little consequence to disturb the royal mind. 

Yet there were noble-hearted men in England even then 
who pitied Irish degradation, and, not altogether under- 
standing the Irish character, blamed the effervescent 
loyalty of the people. One of the most powerful and sting- 
ing political ballads of that or any other age was written on 
this subject by Lord Byron. He had defended " hereditary 

Mrs Fitzlierbert. " I believe," lie used to say, " that there never was a 
greater scoundrel than George the Fourth. To his other evil qualities 
he added a perfect disregard of truth. During his connection with Mrs 
Fitzlierbert, Charles James Fox dined with him one day in that lady's 
company. After dinner Mrs Fitzlierbert said, ' By the by, Mr Fox, I 
had almost forgotten to ask you, what you did say about me in the 
House of Commons the other night ? The newspapers misrepresent so 
very strangely, that one cannot depend on them. You were made to 
say, that the Prince authorised you to deny his marriage with me ! '— 
The Prince made monitory grimaces at Fox, and immediately said, 
* Upon my honour, my dear, I never authorised him to deny it.' — ' Upon 
my honour, sir, you did* said Fox, rising from the table ; ' I had 
always thought your father the greatest liar in England, but now I see 
that you are.' " 

5 " The Duchess of Gloucester went to see him [the King] yesterday. 
. . . He is not so much enraptured with Ireland as she expected to see 
him. I believe he is a little alarmed at the advances and favour he has 
Bhown to the Catholics." — Mr W. H. Freemantle to the Marquis oj 
Buckingham — Memoirs of the Court of George I V. } vol. i. p. 201. 



bondsmen " not only in the heroic metre but in the grander 
epic of action. In his Avatar the keenest irony of al] 
was, perhaps, that contained in the opening verse: — 

"Ere the daughter of Brunswick is cold in her grave, 
And her ashes still float to their home o'er the tide, 
Lo ! George the Triumphant speeds over the wave 
To the long-cherished isle which he loved — like his bride." 

Even O'Connelldid not escape his scathing denunciation, 
while he certainly did not spare those of his own rank. 
He taunts O'Connell with proclaiming the accomplish- 
ments of the monarch, and asks Lord Fingal, in allusion to 
his being made a Knight of St Patrick — 

"Will thy yard of blue ribbon, poor Fingal, recall 

The fetters from millions of Catholic limbs? 
Or has it not bound thee the fastest of all 

The slaves who now hail their betrayer with hymns?" 

As grave fears were now felt in England of a coalition 
between the English Radicals and the Irish Catholics, the 
Marquis of Wellesley was sent to Ireland as Viceroy to 
raise the hopes of the latter party. But there was just 
this difference between the policy adopted towards the vast 
majority of the Irish nation and the few Orangemen who 
sought to govern it : from time to time, it was whispered 
to. the nation that some measure of justice was to be dealt 
out to it, but when the time came for doing the justice, 
it was generally found inexpedient. With the Orange 


party, there was less talk, and a great many grants of 

even un promised favours. 6 

The Marquis of Wellesley, in pursuance of an occasional 
policy, professed to come as the friend of the Catholics; hut, 
in pursuance of the usual policy, acted as the patron of the 
Orangemen. He got scant thanks for his pains, even from 
them. His marriage with a Catholic lady did not improve 
his position in their eyes, and the " Exports of Ireland," 
at public dinners, became a favourite toast, the proposers 
having scarcely the decency to wait until his Excellency had 
left the banquet-table. 7 

At the drunken orgies usually held at the decoration 

6 On the 10th March 1822, Mr Freemantle wrote thus to the Duke ol 
Buckingham from the Board of Control : " With regard to Ireland, I 
am quite satisfied the great man is holding the most conciliatory language 
to all parties ; holding out success to the Catholics, and a determination 
to resist them to the Protestants." — Memoirs of the Court of George IV. t 
vol. i. p. 295. 

It was no wonder O'Connell worked hard for repeal of the Union. 

The Duke of Montrose, in writing to Lord Eldon during the King's 
visit to Dublin, spoke of Ireland and its inhabitants in a fashion which 
showed the utter ignorance of English statesmen on such subjects. He 
was " surprised with the city and its superior inhabitants," no doubt 
having always believed the traditional Irish barbarian theory ; but he 
was shrewd enough to see, and honest enough to express an opinion on, 
the misfortunes of the country also. " It certainly wants capital and 
the residence of its nobility and gentry ; the latter will secure the in- 
crease of the former, and must, in my opinion, precede the former. The 
land appears to be let too high, and to be very little manured." — Life of 
Lord Chancellor ttldon, vol. ii. p. 433. 

7 The Marquis married Mrs Patterson, an American lady, remarkable 
for her beauty, which was enhanced by her fortune of ^£100,uo0. This 



of King William's statue, the 12th Lancers shouted "To 
hell with the Pope," a miserable party cry not yet extinct, 
and they supplemented their ignorant blasphemy with 
a curse on O'Connell, "the Pope in the pillory in hell, 
and the devil pelting O'Connell at him." Probably there 
were not ten men in the whole rabble rout who had the very 
least idea what the Pope believed or taught. 

The Beefsteak Club held its revels safe under the shadow 
of respectability. It was originally a musical society, but 
had long ceased to promote harmony of any kind. At one 
of the carousals the obnoxious toast was quaffed. Three 
officers of the Castle were present, and all Dublin was 
elcci rificd at hearing next morning that they were dis- 
missed. The rage of the Orange party was unbounded. 
They had not been accustomed to interference in their 
exhibitions of disloyalty. They determined to have their 
revenge, and they had it. The Marquis was alarmed at his 
own boldness. To interfere with the Orange, or Protestant 
ascendency party, was an unheard-of " outrage " on the part 
of the Government. He had to compromise matters by 
going to dine with the club uninvited. Lord Manners, the 
Chancellor, presided. All was conducted with due decorum, 
until his Excellency rose to take his leave. He walked 
through files of Orangemen to the door, but he had scarcely 

lady was the widow of Jerome Bonaparte, Napoleon's brother. She 
was a descendant of Carroll of Carrolton, one of the Irish signers of the 
American Declaration of Independence. 



reached it ere every glass was filled, and before lie left, the 
toast of the " Exports of Ireland " was given and drunk with 
shouts of triumph. It was a lesson to the Marquis not to 
interfere with Orangemen again. 

English statesmen wrote to each other confidentially for 
the hundredth time, that they were assured " by very intel- 
ligent " friends that " Ireland was in a worse state than 
ever," and that nothing but " vigorous measures " would 
save it. The vigorous measures were entirely limited to one 
side — to the side that could be coerced with impunity; 
consequently, the " worse state than ever " seemed likely to 
7>e still a normal condition of Irish affairs. 8 What could 
be done with those who would not be put down, who would 
rule the Government, and who had the hearty sympathy of 
the whole English nation in all their misdeeds. If the 
Marquis of Wellesley had dared to proceed against these 
men, they would have brought a storm about his ears which 
would have resulted in his recall. As it was, because he made 
some little show of justice to the Catholic party, he was 
grossly insulted in the theatre, and his life threatened on 
the occasion of the famous " Bottle riot," at the close of 
the year 1822. The offenders were brought to the bar — 
their guilt was clearly proved. It was one of the fiercest 
and most unprovoked attacks ever made on Government. 
It was the result of a deep-laid plot against the Lord- 

8 " Letter from the Right Honourable T. Grenville to the Marquis of 
Buckingham — Memoirs of George IV.," vol. ii. p. 215. 


Lieutenant. He narrowly escaped with his life; but the 
offenders were Orangemen, and they escaped, because no 
jury could be found to bring them in guilty. 

At the commencement of that year, a corporation dinner 
was given at Morrison's Hotel, at which the glorious 
memory was drunk, and the proposer, Sir Thomas Whelan, 
hoped that the corporation u would never forget that 
great, that brave man, who had made them what they 

The compliment to the royal memory was a doubtful one. 
If William tyrannised, he tyrannised to win or keep a 
kingdom ; but those men were, each in their way, petty 
tyrants, tyrants who boasted of their pitiful il liberality, and 
gloried in their ignorant bigotry. Even at this very dinner, 
they declared that the kingdom would not be " safe for six 
months," because some little grace was shown to their 
Catholic fellow-subjects. For them, indeed, there was but 
one kingdom, their own little body corporate, and but one 
freedom, liberty to insult those who dared to differ from 

The Catholics obtained a great triumph, however, at this 

period, by the return of Mr White for the county Dublin. 

He was opposed by Sir Compton Domville, a violent Orange 

partisan. Both parties were lavish in their bribes, but 

O'Connell's eloquence and nerve carried the day for White. 

He went from chapel to chapel along the Dublin coast, and 

Bpoke to the freeholders in small parties with that persua- 

2 H 



give eloquence which rarely failed of its effect. The priests 
were, as they have always been, most earnest in support- 
ing the unhappy victims of landlord tyranny, and Sir 
Compton learned for the first time, with equal annoyance 
and indignation, that his tenants dared to call their votes 
then: owb» 

Chapter (ElffctntJ. 








Ladies — o'conn ell's popularity — aims of the association — ANOT*a:a 


HEX O'Conuell was on cir- 
cuit in the Bpring of 1822, 
a most amusing trial took 
q l place at Tralee assizes.. 
The account, which has 
never before been published, except in a 
local paper, was supplied to the present 
writer by a gentleman who was present 
on the occasion and thoroughly center* 
Bant with all the circumstances. 

About this time the Government began to 
take active measures for the suppression of 
illegal trade. New laws were made, heavy pen- 
alties inflicted, and, above all, an active officer 
was sent down to assist, and look after the 
justices of the peace, some of whom were more 



than suspected of complicity and connivance. The man's 
name was Flood. He commenced life as a lamplighter in 
the Crow Street Theatre in Dublin. He was a notability 
there, and used to keep the green-room in roars with his 
recitations, obtaining more money in this way than many 
legitimate wearers of the buskin. To his other accom- 
plishments he added that of being a most expert swimmer, 
and he was given a fine appointment in the revenue as a 
reward for saving the life of some nobleman's son. 

He was active and energetic, and we now find him as 
John Flood, Esq., settled in Dingle. 

But the man was an actor spoiled. Dingle, to use a 
local expression, was " at the back of God-speed;" and 
instead of getting up a cutter, he got up a theatre. Flood 
became at once the most popular man in Dingle. Every 
house was open to him, and every party. Flays led to sup- 
per-parties, and Flood, who was supposed to hunt piracy by 
sea, turned pirate on land, if tradition does not belie him ; 
and was more than once had up before the "justices" for 
raids on neighbouring farms, to obtain geese and turkeys for 
his convivial meetings. Ugly reports went up to Dublin, 
and Flood felt assured that he must capture something 
more important than fowl, if he wished to retain his situa- 

Fortune favoured him. He seized a Dingle shopkeeper 
named Connor, who had long engaged unmolested in illicit 
trade. He seized him at midnight, at the head of forty 



horses, each bearing three large sacks of tobacco. Infor- 
mation was given, and special counsel sent down to the 
Tralee assizes to prosecute. 

Bat Connor, who held a very respectable position, had a 
great number of friends in Tralee. They wisely retained 
O'Connell for his counsel. His case certainly could not 
have looked worse. The man was caught in the act, and 
fourteen years was the lightest sentence he could expect. 

Connor's friends employed the shop boys and others 
to watch Flood for the three or four days preceding the 
trial. They made him declaim for them, and act for them, 
and they supplied him abundantly with drink. They kept 
him in a state of semi-intoxication ; and when he came to 
give his evidence at the trial, he was, to use the vernacular, 
more than half-seas over. 

The evidence was simple enough. He had lain in 
ambush for Connor, had seen him approaching with his forty 
horses, had sprung out upon him and seized him, but the 
horses had escaped. 

He was just going down from the witness-box when he 
was recalled by O'Connell for cross-examination. 

M Come back, Alonzo ! " roared O'Connell. 

O'Connell knew Alonzo well, every one did in Dublin, 
and was well informed of his former career by Connor's 

The right chord was touched. Flood turned round to the 
place from whence the rolling tones had proceeded, exclaim- 



ing, " Alonzo the brave, and the fair Imogene ! " in hia 

best theatrical style. 

0' Conn ell opened fire. There was no fear of his client 

He began, " And who was your Imogene in Dingle ? " 

Flood shook his head and made imploring gestures. 
It was no use. When O'Connell had a victim in the wit- 
ness-box, he might resign himself ; it was useless to 
struggle. Flood was obliged to answer. He was obliged 
to tell how many Imogenes he had in Dingle, how many 
supper - parties he had given, how many parts he had 
played, and then — how many famous hen-roosts he had 
robbed. At last Flood got into a towering passion, and 
abused O'Connell bitterly. So much the better for his 
client. He puzzled, bewildered, cajoled, and enraged 
Flood, until he made him contradict his own sworn evi- 
dence twenty times over. He plied him with quotations 
from Shakespeare in one breath, and then most adroitly 
insinuated a leading question. At last Flood became so 
excited that he made a spring towards O'Connell, exclaim- 
ing, u My love, my life, my Belvidera! " Unhappy man I 
amidst the roaring laughter of jury, counsel, and judge, he 
fell between the witness-box and the bench, and was taken 
up half-unconscious, yet muttering threats of deadly ven- 
geance against his tormentor. 

Connor was acquitted by the jury after a quarter of an 
hour's " deliberation." 



When my informant reminded O'Connell of the cir- 
cumstance some years later, at Darrynane, he said he had 
completely forgotten it. The next day, however, he said 
that " Alonzo " and " Belvidere " had been haunting his 
memory since the previous day, that he distinctly remem- 
bered the whole case, and that it was the greatest triumph 
he had ever had in a court of justice, not even excepting 
that which he had gained in the Doneraile conspiracy. 

I am indebted for the following anecdote to a legal 
friend who is a distinguished member of the Irish 
bar 3 :— 

u When Lord Manners retired from the Chancellorship, a great 
part of the public looked to Plunket, the Attorney-General, 
then in the zenith of his fame as an orator and a statesman, 
as the successor to the high place. The newspapers announced and 
the people received it as a fact, and the known object of his ambi- 
tion seemed already in the possession of the pre-eminent labourer. 
English policy, however, or it may be the inability to spare such an 
ally from the House of Commons, stopped his promotion for the 
time, and Sir Anthony Hart, of the English bar, sat as Lord Chan- 
cellor of Ireland. A brilliant gathering of the 'Long Kobe' re- 
ceived the stranger on his first sitting with the customary obeis- 
ance The disappointed, if not insulted, Attorney-General was 
there, and Sanrin and Goold, and Bushe, and Wallace and Joy ; 
and, amongst the juniors, Blackburn and Shiel ; but, greatest amongst 
the great, ' the observed of all observers/ the future Liberator. 
1 How does Plunket look this morning, Dan V cries Shiel in a shrill 
whisper. ' Very sore at Heart' responded Dan, rolling his large grey 
•ye towards the bench ; and the timely hit ran round the gay circla 

• Sergeant Armstrong. 


and soon the buzzing and crowded hall, adding to the long roll of 
the great Dan's hard yet pleasant sayings." 

One of the most important undertakings of O'Connell's 
life was the formation of the Catholic Association. He 
had formed the Catholic Committee, which was abolished 
by Government ; he had formed the Board, which was also 
abolished by Government; but as they could not abolish 
O'Connell, he next formed the Catholic Association. The 
circular letter which, preceded the first meeting was the 
joint composition of O'Connell and Shiel. The first 
meeting was held at a tavern in Saekville Street, on the 
28th of April 1823. Lord Killeen was voted to the chair, 
and O'Connell made the opening speech ; in which he 
observed with great truth and shrewdness that " some per- 
sons should take upon themselves the trouble of man ag- 
in": the affairs of the Catholics." Never had Catholics 
a more competent leader than the man who enunciated 
this truth. 

But there was yet more to be done. A plan had to be 
formed which could not be interfered with by Government. 
Such an undertaking was one into which the Liberator could 
enter with a special zest. O'Connell's plan was an open 
club. Members were admitted on payment of one guinea 
per annum without canvass or ballot, on the viva voce 
proposal of a friend. But O'Connell saw now that it was 
time to bring two powerful bodies into action, the priests 
and the people. Hitherto, all Catholic movements had 



been led and carried out by the upper classes, and with fit- 
ful and intermitting help from the aristocracy. 

The people who were to become members of this Asso- 
ciation were to pay one shilling a-year. Poor as the Irish 
peasant was, there were few indeed who could not give this 
trifling sum, and fewer still who would refuse it. The 
very fact of contributing to and being a member of such an 
association was an incalculable benefit. He hoped for the 
first time to give the lower cla-s of Irish a sense of power, 
individual responsibility, and of independence. They had 
now a personal interest in every debate of the Association, 
they now felt that something was being done for them, and 
that they need not seek redress in the wild justice of 

The connection of the Catholic clergy with the Associa- 
tion was an arrangement of still greater importance. In 
order to rule the people, it was necessary that they should 
have leaders. The landlords, with whom they were con- 
tinually at feud who hated their religion and too often 
opposed them in temporal affairs, were not to be thought 
of. Who, then, could be chosen but the priest? And the 
priest did his work wisely and well. He kept the people 
united, he made them strong, he gave them hope, they 
learned from him, from time to time, how the great work 
was progressing. Each individual knew that his penny 
went safely to the general fund, and contributed its share 
to the common object. True, it was but a drop in the 


ocean, but the ocean is formed of drops ; and the Catholia 
rent, made up of pennies, became a power in Ireland before 
which English statesmen and cabinets learned to trim the 
sails of their barque with cautious fear. 

Shiel, always cautious, doubted if the plan would suc- 
ceed. 1 O'Connell, always bold, said it would, for he would 
make it. This was, indeed, the secret of O'Connell's suc- 
cess, as it must ever be the secret of all success. Yet, when 
we look at O'Connell, in the zenith of his power and his 
popularity, we are too apt to forget the difficulties he encoun- 
tered in arriving at this consummation. It is a common 
saying that u nothing succeeds like success ;" but it should 
be remembered that success takes a good deal of disap- 
pointment as well as a great deal of labour, — a good deal 
of discouragement as well as a great deal of indomitable 

On the 13th of May 1823, The Irish Catholic Asssocia- 
tion, as it was now styled, met at Coyne's, a Catholic book- 
seller, who lived at No. 4 Capel Street, and here its future 
meetings were held. A few gentlemen talked and doubted. 
O'Connell talked too, but he worked. The gentlemen were 
for petitioning Parliament in well-considered and courteous 
language. O'Connell came out with statements of facts ag 
to the oppression exercised on Catholics which no one couid 

1 " Memoir of O'Connell," by his Son, voL ii. p. 409, 



At the meeting he showed how the poor Catholics in 
jail were deprived of the services of a chaplain even in their 
last moments, in consequence of the bigotry of the Dublin 
Grand Jury. They first appointed Dr Murphy because they 
knew he could not attend, they next appointed a Spanish 
priest because he neither knew English nor Irhm ; they then 
selected a gentleman whose intellect was astray ; and they 
at iast chose a parish priest in Limerick, who was " to come 
up by the mail " when a convict was to be executed. 

The following anecdote is an evidence of O'ConnelFs 
difficulties, and of his energy in overcoming them. It was 
a rule of the Association that, if the members were not 
present at half-past three o'clock, that being the time 
of meeting, an adjournment should take place. Purcell 
O'Gorman, the secretary, notified the time with rigorous 
punctuality. O'Connell was harassed by the irregularity 
of the members. They w r ould all promise to be present, but 
when the time came the promise would be broken or for- 
gotten. On the 4th of July 1824, says Mr O'Connell's son, 
" the spell was broken " : — 

"At twenty-three minutes past three, on that afternoon, there 
were but seven persons present, including Mr O'Connell himself and 
the inexorable Purcell ! the latter, as usual, watch in hand, not in 
the least moved by the anxiety so plainly depicted in Mr O'Connell's 
face. Another minute, and Mr O'Connell could remain in the room 
tio longer. He ran towards Coyne's shop, down-stairs, in the faint 
hope of finding somebody. On the stairs the eighth man passed 
hi in going up. Iu the shop itself were fortunately two young Majf 



nooth priests making some purchases. The rules of the Association 
admitting all clergymen as honorary members without special 
motion, he eagerly addressed and implored them to come up but for 
one moment, and help to make the required quorum. At first they 
refused, there being a good deal of hesitation generally on the part 
of the clergy to put themselves at all forward in politics, and these 
young men in particular having all the timidity of their secluded 
education about them. But there was no withstanding him ; partly 
by still more earnest solicitations, and partly by actual pushing, ho 
got them towards the staircase, and upon it, and finally into thei 
meeting-room, exactly a second or two before the half-hour, and so 
stopped Mr O'Gorman's mouth ; and the required number being thus 
made up, the chair was taken." 2 

O'ConnelFs master-mind had grasped not only the in- 
tellectual but even the financial arrangements of his new 
plan. He calculated that by his penny-a-month subscrip- 
tions £50,000 per annum would be raised. It was a goodly 
sum, but not more than sufficient for the purpose. lie 
proposed the following division of the amount : — 

For parliamentary expenses .... £5,000 

For the services of the press .... 15,000 
For law proceedings, in preserving the legal 
privileges of the Catholics, and prosecuting 

Orange aggressors ..... 15,000 
For the purpose of education for the Catholic poor 5,000 
For educating Catholic priests for the service of 

America • 5,000 


The parliamentary expenses included, or rather involved, 

a " Memoir of O'Connell," by his Son, vol. ii. p. 478. 



the residence of an agent in London, who would see to the 
presentation of petitions and other matters of equal 
Importance. For the services of the press the sum was 
absolutely necessary, since the press was then hostile to 
Catholics with the rarest exceptions, and it was of vital 
importance that they should have an organ of their own. 
O'Connell had already heen asked to assist in the pro- 
viding funds for the education of priests in America, 
where the Irish were already emigrating in numbers, and 
laying the foundation of a mighty empire, where they 
might have ruled and reigned if there had been an 
O'Connell to govern them. 

The principal difficulty was to collect this Catholic rent; 
but the word difficulty was not in O'Connell's dictionary. 
He said he would collect in his own parish himself: there 
were few gentlemen likely to follow his example, but the 
priests came to the rescue, and, with their assistance, the 
work was done. O'Connell's plan was, of course, scouted 
at first ; and even his sons were taunted at their school 
with their father's " peuny-a-month plan for liberating 

A grand aggregate meeting was held on the 27th of 
July 1824, in Old Townsend Street Chapel, Sir Thomas 
Esmonde in the chair. O'Connell's speech was received 
with even more than usual applause, and with a good deal 
of laughter. He had been sent an enormous package of 
books, pamphlets, and private letters relating to the 



Orangemen, of which he made effective and unsparing use. 

He read extracts from these documents, which proved that 

the Society was a secret and deadly engine of tyranny, yet 

the Crown Solicitor for the county Donegal was Grand 

Master of a Lodge. One of the resolutions was this : — 

"Itesolved — 'That any Orangeman, who ever has, or may here* 
after, sign any petition in favour' of the Roman Catholics, and for 
their emancipation be expelled from all Orange Lodges, and Ids name 
posted: " 

From time to time a curious phenomenon occurs in Ire- 
land. Some few individuals, with more zeal than discretion, 
and more bigotry than intellect, make a desperate attempt 
to " convert" the people from the religion to which they 
have adhered with unfailing fidelity for centuries. 3 The 
result is always failure, except in " famine years," when 
the unhappy peasantry are sometimes induced to barter 
their faith for bread. Such attempts are now, happily, 
comparatively rare. Englishmen are too practical where 
money is concerned to expend it without a corresponding 

3 On the 21st October 1826, Lord Palmerston wrote thus to the 
Honourable W. Temple: — "The Catholic and anti-Catholic war iej 
however, carried on more vigorously than ever, and the whole peoplo 
are by their race like a disciplined pack of hounds." He forgot, how- 
ever, that he actually had a share in the hunt himself, for he says in an 
earlier part of the letter he had "a great mind" to send some "zealous* 
evangelical from Cambridge, then full of Simeon's great " revival," to 
work on his estates in Ireland. It does not seem to have ever occurred 
to this intelligent statesman that he was anxious himself to do the very 
thing which he blamed others for doing, and that he was accusing the 
Irish of a quarrel which had actually been forced on them. He did 



return, and have at last discovered that the speculation in 
Irish fidelity to religion is more loss than profit. 

O'Connell, as might be expected, was a fierce opponent 
of all such attempts, and not without cause. The conver- 
sion mania was rampant in the year 1824, and the famous 
Pope and Maguire controversy agitated all Ireland. Each 
parry, of course, claimed the victory after the public dis- 
cussion, at which O'Connell assisted ; but it was said that 
Mr Pope was more than convinced by Maguire's arguments, 
though lie continued to oppose them to the last. 

He sank into a state of melancholy, from which neither 
the vivacity of his Welsh wife, nor the benefit of her for- 
tune, could rouse him. He limited his theological efforts 
to giving lectures in private houses. 

O'ConnelTs speech at the public discussion was long and 
telling. At the conclusion he suggested that the gentle- 
men who were supporting the " Second Reformation," as 
they were pleased to call this movement, should turn their 

not consider at all what the result would be if he had been an Irish 
Catholic, possessing some English estates tenanted by Protestant-3, and 
if he had selected some zealous Jesuit from Stoneyhurst College to go 
aud convert them. In the conclusion of his letter, he blames the 
Orangemen sharply, and spoke of their "orgies" in this town [London- 
derry] and Armagh ; and concluded, " It is strange, in this enlightened 
age and enlightened country, people should be still debating whether 
it is wise to convert four or five millions of men from enemies to friends, 
and whether it is safe to give peace to Ireland." — Life of Lord Palmer- 
tion, vol. i. pp. 178, 179. Yet he was not "enlightened" enough himself 
to be j that he was doing the very thing to a certain degree that he con- 
demned in others. 




attention to the Orangemen in the North, though he was not 
aware that even Lord Palrnerston deemed them in need 
of reformation. He made the pertinent observation that 
the Catholics were charged with altering Scripture, while, 
in point of fact, it was altered by Protestants ; and he showed 
that the divisions of Protestants themselves on the most 
vital questions of doctrine was an evidence that some 
authoritative source for definition was needed. 

Either O'Connell's boldness or the general hatred of the 
Government towards him brought on a prosecution. On 
the 20th of December he made a speech in which he 
said : — 

" lie hoped that Ireland would never be driven to the system 
pursued by the Greeks. He trusted in God they would never be so 
driven. He hoped Ireland would be restored to her rights ; but if 
that day should arrive — if she were driven mad by persecution, he 
wished that a new Bolivar might arise — that the spirit of the Greeks 
and of the South Americans might animate the people of Ireland 1 1 

For this O'Connell was indicted, but the grand jury 
threw out the bill. The Dublin reporters behaved nobly, 
one and all refusing to give up their notes, or to give infor- 
mation. The reporter of Saunders* News Letter was the only 
exception. This gentleman, however, was obliged to admit 
on examination that he was asleep when the seditious words 
were said, and the case broke down for want of proper 
evidence. It was said that Mr Plunket, the Attorney- 
General, was the originator of the prosecution, and that he 
was also the suggester or the active promoter of the 



" Second Reformation ; " and it was also said that the bill 
was thrown out to " spite " Mr Plunket. 4 

O'Connell's uncle, old " Hunting-Cap," died this year, 
and the Li Iterator succeeded to his property, which proved 
an important addition to his professional income, He was 
nut, however, free from domestic care. Mrs O'Connell's 
health was failing, and she was taken to the south of 

When the king's speech was preparing in the opening 
of 1825, the " Irish difficulty," as usual, proved an obstacle. 
The king was ill, 1 at least he said so ; he was out of 
temper, at least his mistress said so. The cabinet was 
engaged on the Irish portion of the speech daily for hours. 
The anti-Catholics, with the Duke of York at their head, 
were crying out in the " so-help-me-God " style, which 
has been renewed in our own days. 6 The Burlington fae- 

4 " There is much idea that the grand jury threw out the bill to spite 
Plunket" — Wynn to the Duke of Buckingham, Memoirs of George IV., 
vol. ii. p. 193. It certainly was not done to favour O'Connell, and it is 
an edifying specimen of the way "law " was carried out in Ireland. 

5 " The king is still in his bed, sulky and out of humour, and, there- 
fore, venting his spleen when and where he can. It all, however, origi- 
ns e: in the domestic concerns. Lady is not gone back/' &c. — 

Memcirs of the Court of George IV., vol. ii. p. 217. 

6 The Duke of York's famous " so-help-me-God " speech was made on 
the 25th of April 1825, in the House of Lords. The anti- Catholic party 
were so cli armed with it, that it was printed in gold letters like the 
famous Durham letter. The whole speech was intended to tell, as 
it did, with a certain class, against even the smallest concession to the 
Catholics. He said in conclusion :— " I ever have, and ever shall, in any 



tion were for masterly inactivity. The Irish Executive 
would not urge the necessity of a bill to put down the 
Catholic Association, much as they desired to do it, but 
they were quite willing to support one if Government 
would take the odium of it. 7 

There were " innuendoes" and "whispers," and "looks; " 
and the Opposition sincerely hoped, and had some ground 
for suspecting, that it would all end in a " dislocation." 
The Irish Attorney- General Plunket was got over to 
assist in the deliberation, and at last the speech was 
written. 8 Lord Eldon said, indeed, that he " did not ad- 
mire the composition, or the matter of the speech," 9 though 
he had to read it (and submit to it). 

The king's speech first asserted that Ireland was pros- 
perous, and then opened out on the Catholic Association : — 

" It is to be regretted that Associations should exist in Ireland 
which have adopted proceedings irreconcilable with the spirit of the 
constitution, and calculated, by exciting alarm and by exasperating 
animosity, to endanger the peace of society and to retard the course 
of national improvement. His Majesty relies upon your wisdom to 
consider without delay the means of applying a remedy to this evil." 

uituation in which I may be placed, oppose these claims of the Roman 
Catholics. So-help-me-God." The Duke was certainly sincere. 

7 " How they will arrange the speech with regard to Ireland is the real 
difficulty ; the Cabinet, depend upon it, is engaged in this question daily 
for hours . . . Your benches are loud for doing nothing." — Letter from 
\ke Hon. W. Fremantle to the Duke of Bucking I tarn j Memoirs of George 
IV., vol. ii. p. 202. 

8 " Memoirs of George IV.," vol. ii. p. 204. 

* " Twiss's Life of Lord Eldon," vol. ii. p. 534 



The result was a bill for tlie suppression of the Catholic 
Association, which was brought in by Mr Goulbourn on the 
10th of February 1825. The Catholics petitioned against 
the bill; they explained the working of the Association ; but 
what was the use of explanation to those who were deter- 
mined not to believe them. There were men both in and 
out of Parliament who knew the whole thing was a " Popish 
plot," the constitution to be subverted by it, the Protestants 
to be massacred. 1 Reasoning with men of this class was 
simply useless, because they were incapable of reasoning. 
If they asserted anything, that was in itself a sufficient 
proof of its truth. So, having asserted a falsehood, they 
reasoned on the falsehood, and might as well be left to the 
enjoyment of their own delusion. When they condescended 
to give any reason except their own assertion, it was gener- 
ally original, and of about as much value as the assertion. 
They had " heard" that one or two Italian Jesuits 2 had been 

1 Mr Wynn wrote to the Duke of Buckingham :— " Mr Lewis de- 
scribes the local alarm as very great ; numbers of persons having sat 
tip on Christinas Eve in Dublin in expectation of waking dead corpses if 
they allowed themselves to go to sleep. This I heard also from Peel, 
who describes the alarmists as doing incalculable mischief by talking 
before Catholic servants of the massacre," kc — Memoirs of the Court of 
Q&yrge IV., vol. ii. p. 193, This was an old trick of the Protestant ascen- 
dancy party. They chose to suppose or invent a massacre in perspec- 
tive ; thus they excited- the unhappy people by denouncing them to 
Government, by arrests on suspicion, and by using the most violent 
language before them, and at last they exasperated them into some 
outrage which seemed to give a colour of truth to the prediction. 

1 " I am confident, as I have long since been, that the priests have laid 


seen in Dublin, therefore, of course, there was a Jesuit plot ; 
and the priests had preached on the last judgment, as they 
had always done in Advent for centuries before Orangemen 
or Protestants v\ r ere heard of, and, of course, they meant, not 
what they said, but that a judgment in the form of a mas- 
sacre was to come on the Protestants. 

It is scarcely credible that rational beings could be so 
credulous, and it would be incredible if they had not left 
their own credulity and folly on record. 

These were the class of men with whom O'Connell had to 
deal. In England, men like the Duke of York, who called 
God to witness that they would persevere in bigotry to the 
death; in Ireland, men like Mr Hans Hamilton, who 
imagined they knew everything about a religion which they 
despised, and whose only idea of making converts was by 
physical force. 3 

a deep plot, and are daily preparing the -minds of the people for the 
execution of it, which is no less than the extermination of the Protest- 
ants, and they have said as much." — Letter from Mr Hans Hamilton to 
Lord Colchester, Liary of Lord Colchester, vol. iii. p. 450. Poor Mr 
Hamilton suffered from Jesuitaphobia. The unhappy man believed that 
every parish priest was a Jesuit, but he does not tell us how he came 
to be so intimately acquainted with the councils of the Society. His 
own letters are a sufficient evidence of his folly. If the priests mid laid 
a plot to massacre the Protestants, it is not likely they would " have 
said as much " to him at anytime. Persons affected with Jesuitaphobia 
are generally terribly inaccurate in their statements. They represent 
the Jesuits at one time as the most wise and crafty of mortals, and at 
others as fearful fools. 

3 At the close of the year 1824, Mr Hamilton wrote again : — " Your 



Lord (then Mr) Brougham undertook the defence of the 
Association in the House of Commons. The bill for its sup- 
pression was brought in on the night of the 18th February 
1625. The House was crowded to excess. O'Connell and 
his companions, noble specimens of the Irish race, sat below 
the bar of the House. They had hoped they might be called 
cd to plead, and O'Connell had prepared a speech for the 
purpose, which he delivered afterwards at a public meeting. 

Lord Liverpool opened the charge as Prime Minister. 
He accused the Association of " evading and nullifying the 
law of the land," by levying an unauthorised tax upon the 
Catholic population of Ireland. He said, "If Catholic 
claims were to be granted, they ought to be granted on their 
own merits, and not to the demand of such associations, 
acting in such a manner." 4 

It was the old story. Catholics had put forward their 
claims very often quietly; they were not listened to. Now 
they united to demand them, they were not to be granted, 
because they did not act submissively, as usual, and own 
they were wrong. They should not have acted at all ; 
the matter and the manner were sure to offend. Some 
few Irish peers spoke out nobly for fair play. Lord 

Lordship has no doubt heard of the arrival of some Italian priests in 
Dublin a short time ago." In the same letter, he says, in one place, that 
he hail discovered and disclosed all the plans of the Jesuits, and in an- 
other, that the Jesuits acted in such a way as to "evade discovery." — 
Diary of Lord Colchester, vol. iii. p. 356. 
* u Life and Administration of Lord Liverpool," voL iii p. 320. 


Brougham said the Association was not seditious, and that 
" the Catholic clergy had been most active, and more than 
usually successful, in discouraging sedition and tumult." 
Lord Clifden said that he was himself a subscriber to the 

A month latei, when Lord Liverpool moved the second 
reading of the bill, he poured forth a torrent of platitudes 
as to what had been already done for Ireland. According 
to his view of the case, the Irish had been overwhelmed 
with benefits, and were the most ungrateful people in 

0' Council's visit to London brought him in contact with 
many of the Catholic nobility, and helped to remove some 
prejudices on both sides. The English Catholics found 
that O'Connell did not belong to the class of individuals 
who were then agitating in England ; and the Irish depu- 
tation received so much unexpected courtesy, that they 
could not fail to take kindly recollections back with them 
to Ireland. Even the Edinburgh Revie?v paid a tribute to the 
deputation, probably because that periodical was under 
the influence of Brougham. It admitted that " no men 
in circumstances so delicate had ever behaved with greater 
temper and moderation ; " and more than hinted that they 
had been deceived as to the subject of Catholic Emanci- 

O'Connell was examined before the Committee on the 9th 
of March, and again on the 11th. Lord Colchester has left 


an interesting note on this subject in his diary, though his 
description of O'Conuell is not very complimentary. 6 

IJc was an object of universal attraction, and made favour- 
able impressions on some of the leading politicians of the 

Shortly before leaving London, he attended a public 
meeting at which the Duke of Norfolk presided, where 
he spoke out in very plain language. Lord Colchester 
describes his speech as " long and furious," and complains 
he called Lord Liverpool a " driveller." Lord Palmerston 
had called him a " spoony," which was equally offensive ; 
but as the opinion was given in private correspondence, 
it only proves that noble English lords could use such ex- 
pressions as well as Irish agitators. 6 Indeed, there was a 
good deal of low language used in confidentir.1 communica- 
tions at that period. Party feeling rau high, and some 
ladies even went so far as to keep their husbands at home 

6 Extract from Diary. — " 9th Irish Committee. — O'Connell examined 
for four hours : confined himself to the state of the administration of 
justice, how far satisfactory or unsatisfactory, from the highest to the 
lowest jurisdiction, police included. O'Connell appears to be about 
ifty-three or fifty-four years of age, a stout-built man, with a black wig, 
and thin light coloured eyebrows, about the middle stature, pale coun- 
tenance anil grave features, blue eyes, reflecting expression of counten- 
ance [sic], his whole deportment affected respectful and gentle, except 
in a lew answers, when he displayed a fierceness of tone and aspect. 
He went to the Munster Circuit twenty-three or twenty-four years, but 
now only on special occasions." — Diary of Lord Colchester, vol. iii. p. 372. 

6 1 can forgive old women like the Chancellor [Lord EldonJ, spoon Lea 
like Liverpool, ignoramuses like Westmoreland, stumped-up old Tories 



by force to prevent them from voting on the Catholic ques- 
tion. As a reward for their enterprise they were toasted 
daily as " The ladies who locked up their husbands." 7 

Lord Eldon's opinion of O'Connell at this period is also 
on record, as w T ell as Lord Sidmouth's. The observations 
of these men are of special interest. Lord Eldon says : — 

"On May 21, 1825, Mr O'Connell pleaded as a barrister before 
me in the House of Lords on Thursday. His demeanour was very 
proper, but he did not strike me as shining so much in argument 
as might be expected from a man who has made so much noise in 
his harangues in a seditious Association." 

Lord Eldon evidently expected the " agitator" would not 
conduct himself with propriety in a law court, and was 
surprised to find him " proper.'* O'Connell, who hated 
conventional propriety, was out of his element, and there- 
fore he did not shine ; but notwithstanding Lord Eldon'a 
prejudiced opinion, there was not a man in England, or out 
of, who could surpass O'Connell in arguing points of law. 

like Bathurst ; but how such a man as Peel, liberal, enlightened, and 
fresh -minded, should find himself running in such a pack, is hardly 
intelligible." — LA-e of Lord Palmerston, vol. i. p. 178. It was precisely 
because Peel was neither liberal nor enlightened when Irish ailairs were 
concerned that he did run with the pack. 

7 Possibly it was because Lord Eldon was " an old woman " that he 
especially notes the proceedings of these ladies. He says: — "I forgot 
to tell you yesterday that we have got a new private toast. Lady 
Warrick and Lady Braybrooke (I think that is her name) would not let 
their husbands go to the House to vote for the Catholics, so we Pro- 
testants drink daily as our private toast, ' The ladies who locked up 
their husbands.' " — Twiss's Life of Lord Eldon, vol. ii. p. 554. 



In January 1826, Lord Sidmouth wrote thus :— 
" Dr Doyle and Mr O'Connell have a lasting claim upon the 
gratitude of all good Protestants. They have completely dulcified 
my feelings towards them. Emancipation from poverty, and idle- 
ness, and ignorance, and consequently from bigotry, is, I am satis- 
fied, advancing rapidly in Ireland." 8 

O'Connell returned to Ireland on the 1st June 1825, no 
doubt heartily glad to be freed from the restraints of Eng- 
lish society, where he could scarcely move or speak without 
the utmost caution, so closely was he watched on all sides. 
Mrs O'Connell and his daughters met him at Howth, which 
was then the landing-place for English packets, and he was 
escorted to his house in Merrion Square by an immense 
and most enthusiastic multitude. On his arrival he was 
obliged to address the people from the balcony before they 
could be induced to disperse. In sunshine and storm, in 
summer and winter, by day, and even at night, O'Connell 
stood on that balcony from time to time, and, to the no 
small annoyance of his Protestant neighbours, responded 
to the calls of a grateful and faithful people. 

An aggregate meeting was held in a few da} r s, and so 
great were the crowds who flocked to it for admission, that 
Anne Street Chapel, where it was held, was filled to over- 
flowing five hours before the chair was taken. O'Connell 
was dressed in the uniform of the Association, a blue 
frock with black silk buttons, black velvet collar, and 

8 " Diary of Lord Colchester," vol. iii. p. 408. 



a gilt button on the shoulder, white vest, and white 


Mr Coppinger spoke at the meeting, and made a sharp 
hit at the Duke of York, who, he said, should have had 
his u clerk" to say amen to his so -help -me- God speech. 
The renowned Jack Lawless was also present, and 
attempted to censure O'Connell for his conduct towards 
the forty-shilling freeholders, whom he had sacrificed for 
the Relief Bill; but he was soon silenced. O'Connell took 
care to avoid the subject. His popularity certainly was 
not lessened by it in Dublin, for at the conclusion of the 
meeting, the horses were taken from his carriage, and he 
was drawn in triumph to his house. Such scenes, now of 
frequent occurrence, must have been extremely offensive 
to the Government, yet they might have learned a lesson 
from them. It only needed a man to show an honest 
interest in the poor and the oppressed to receive in return 
their life-long gratitude. 

A new Catholic Association was now formed, and in the 
formation, O'Connell contrived, with his usual discretion, 
to keep himself within the bounds of law. It was, indeed, 
no easy matter to suppress a man, whose resources seemed 
to be infinite, and who, as soon as he was hunted from one 
form, started up in another. 

The first purpose of the new Catholic Association was to 
promote public and private peace ; the second, to encour- 
age education ; the third, to ascertain the number of the 


Catholic population ; the fourth, to erect Catholic churches 
and protect the poor; the fifth, to promote science and 
agriculture ; the sixth, to encourage literature ; the seventh, 
to refute the charges made against Catholics. It was in- 
deed a noble and exhaustive programme, and truly worthy 
of the enlightened mind which originated it. 

It has been one of the misfortunes of Ireland that those 
who have worked for her most faithfully, most earnestly, 
and from the very purest motives, have been always 
thwarted in their plans by some of their own nation. It 
is impossible to account for this strange and sorrowful 
phase in the Irish character, but it is none the less true. 
It may be, it probably is, the remains of that evil spirit 
which was introduced and fostered carefully by English 
statesmen, who, acting on the divide et imp era system, left 
no effort unused to disunite Irishmen. Let us hope that 
this national disgrace will pass away in time, and that 
Irishmen will learn the folly and the reproach of divi- 

0' Council's conduct towards the forty-shilling free- 
holders was made the ground for a dastardly attack on 
his character, by men who were neither able nor willing to 
do one tithe of what he had done for Ireland. It was just 
possible for them to snarl, terrier-fashion, at the noble 
lion who defended the sheep from the wolf. It is always 
a gratification to little minds to throw contempt on those 
Whose intellect is far beyond their reach; and they have 


not sufficient intelligence to see that, though they may 
have the gratification of annoying a nobler mind for a time, 
the real disgrace is their own ; and their names have only 
to be known that they may be held up to posterity to meet 
the contempt they merit. 

A "private public" meeting was held to denounce 
O'Connell, and O'Connell, like a man, presented himself at 
it, and defended his own policy as far as it was defensible, 
while he was too much a man not to admit that he might 
have been mistaken. One thing at least was certain : 
through reproach, or contempt, or the powerful opposi- 
tion of men who should have rallied round him, he 
was resolved to stand up for Ireland. He could not 
but know that he had served her as no man had ever 
served her yet. That bon/wmmie, which was his greatest 
charm, never forsook him, and he concluded his speech 
on this occasion with that happy mixture of earnestness 
and fun which never failed to tell with quick-witted Celtic 
audiences : — 

" I now call upon and conjure gentlemen to bury animosity and 
captious irascibility, and to join with me in fighting the common 
enemy. I can only say that if the entire country were to turn 
against me, I would not, like Scipio, go to lay my bones in foreign 
earth, but I would go to the aggregate meeting on Wednesday to 
reproach them by exerting myself to serve them, if possible, twenty 
times more. (Laughter and applause.) 1 am happy to be able to 
tell you that I have the report already prepared • it will probably 
pass in the committee to-day, and will be presented at the aggregate 



meeting on Wednesday — where we shall all meet, I hope, with no 
other ohject than the success of our common cause — no other view 
than the interests of the people." 

When O'Connell went on circuit now, he only went 
" special." His dexterity in cross-examination made him 
a forlorn hope, and it is to be feared that his professional 
duty required him to shield the guilty much more fre- 
quently than to defend the innocent. One of these cases 
occurred in the county Cork, where a father, brother, and 
son named Franks were murdered for arms, according to one 
account, and to prevent the marriage of the latter, accord- 
ing to another. A maid-servant had escaped by hiding 
herself under a table, and one of the party turned informer ; 
but O'Connell so bewildered them in cross-examination, 
that they contradicted themselves and each other hope- 
lessly, and the result was an acquittal of the prisoners. 

Wherever O'Connell went, he was received with accla- 
mation, surrounded by an exultant multitude. At Wex- 
ford, when he went special, he was met by a fleet of 
boats, and obliged to take his place in a barge gaily deco- 
rated ; the rowers were dressed in green and gold. After 
b xhor cruise, lie was landed at the bridge, and entertained 
in the evening at a public dinner. 

Ar the close of the year 1825, O'Connell was challenged 
by Mr Leyne, a Kerry barrister. O'Connell had forsworn 
duelling, and his son Maurice took up the affair. Mr Leyne, 
however, refused to meet him, but John and Maurice 



O'Connell prosecuted the affair with vigour. The result 
was, that O'Connell had both his sons arrested and bound 
over to keep the peace. 9 

O'Connell acted with his usual prudence in the forma 
tion of the new Catholic Association. He passed by the 
u under growl" of Jack Lawless, estimating it just for 
what it was worth ; but lie excluded the Honourable Mr 
Bellew, because that gentleman was known to receive a 
large pension from Government, for which no reason could 
be assigned. A committee of deliberation sat for fourteen 
days, and consisted of the following gentlemen : — 
O'Connell, Shiel, Sir Thomas Esmonde, Michael Bellew, 
Hugh O'Connor, the Hon. Mr Preston, the O'Connor Don, 
Lord Gormanston, Lord Killeen, Sir J. Burke, Captain 
Bryan, N. Mahon, W. Murphy, H. Lambert; S. Coppinger, 
C. M. Laughlin, M. O'Brien, the Hon. G. Ffrench, J. 
Baggot, and P. Fogarty. The Catholics under the new 
Act could only meet for fourteen days at a time, but 
O'Connell's genius made this a help rather than a hin- 
drance. He made it a reason for encouraging larger assem- 
blies, and for convening assemblies in the different pro- 

9 Through the kindness of friends, we Lave been obliged by some 
private correspondence on the subject. On the8tli December, MrLeyne 
wrote, " The matter is now pretty well tranquillised, but I understand 
it is positively rumoured amongst friends that Maurice, under no cir- 
cumstances belonging to this transaction, was either to receive from 
or send a message to any of his sons." The family considered Mi 
O'Connell had been " guilty of a gross insult." 



vinces and counties of Ireland at which both Protestants 
and Catholics assisted. 

The first great meeting was held on the 16th of July 
1826. TLe deliberation continued for fourteen days. In 
the course of proceedings, the Rev. Mr L'Estrange, O'Con- 
neirs chaplain, stated that when a mutiny broke out in 
Gibraltar, only one regiment out of seven remained faith- 
ful, and that was the Catholic Fifty-fourth. The men 
saved the life of the Governor, and preserved Gibraltar to 
England. During the war, the 47th and 87th regiments, 
which were entirely Catholic, were opposed at one time to 
ten thousand men and defeated them. 1 

The year 1827 was remarkable for political changes. 
Shiel made one of his telling speeches at an aggregate 
meeting, in which he said : — 

" Peel is out— Bathurst is out— Westmoreland is out— Welling- 
ton, tke bad Iriskinan (lie was once a p.ige in the Castle, and ac- 
quired the kabit of thinking as dependant as a lady lieutenant s 
gown), is out — and, thanks be to God, the hoary champion of every 
abuse — the venerable supporter of corruption in all its forms, tbe 
pious antagonist of every generous sentiment — Eldon, procrasti- 
nating, canting, griping, whining, weeping, ejaculating, protesting, 
money -getting and money-keeping Eldon, is out. This, after all, is 

1 O'Connell had a quarrel with the Dublin papers about this period, 
for not reporting him fully. The Morning Register very quietly retorted, 
that as O'Connell uttered two hundred words in one minute, and some- 
times spoke three hours at a time, it was scarcely possible. We believe 
CPConiieirs feats of language are exceeded by Mr Butt, who is said to 
Utter three hundred words in a minute. 

2 K 



Bometbing. We have got rid of that candid gentleman, who for an 
abridgement of the decalogue would abridge Ireland of her liberties. 
We have got rid of the gaoler who presided over the captivity of 
Napoleon, and was so well qualified to design what Sir Hudson 
Lowe was so eminently calculated to execute. We have got rid of 
that authoritative soldier who has proved himself as thankless to 
his sovereign as he has been ungrateful to his country, and who has 
been put to the right-about-left : and better than all — better than 
the presumption of Wellington, the narrow-heartedness of Bathurst, 
the arrogance of Westmoreland, the ostentatious manliness and elabo- 
rate honesty of Mr Peel — we have got rid of Lord Eldon's tears." 

The reins of government were now in the hands of Can- 
ning, a man of singular ability and power. His party 
had held an important position under Lord Liverpool's 
administration, and Lord Palmerston had sided with this 
party, and, as far as he had political power, he had resisted 
the illiberal faction headed by Lord Eldon. 2 Lord Angle- 
sea was sent to Ireland, for the king, who was by no means 
in a quiet frame of mind, said, " he must have a Protestant 
Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland." 8 

2 Lord Palmerston said that George IV. " personally hated " him. 
He certainly tried to get rid of him by offering him the government 
of Jamaica. —Life of Lord Palmerston, vol. i. p. 183. 

3 " Diary of Lord Colchester," vol. iii. p. 487. In all the political cor- 
respondence of this period, those who favoured the Catholics were called 
Catholics, and the rest Protestants. It is at first puzzling to read of 
men being called Catholics for such a reason. 


commencement or correspondence with dr machale — PRIESTLY co-opera. 


- J 

^?\)t the close of the year 1827, 

n/jy O'Connell made the most en- 
ergetic and active prepara- 
tions for mass meetings of 
the entire people of Ireland, 
and at this period lie commenced 
the long and affectionate correspondence with 
the Right Rev. Dr MacHale, which ended 
only with his life. These letters form a most 
important, illustration of the latter period of 
O'CV.nneirs career, as we have in his own words 
his own opinions. He might he obliged at times 
to conceal his real motives from the public, hut, 
in reading his correspondence with his chosen 
friend and his most valued adviser, we have 
the very secrets of his heart. 



The first letter of this important correspondence is dated 
at the close of this year : — 

" Merkion Square, Zlst December 1827. 

"My Lord, — The public papers will have already informed your 
Lordship of the resolution to hold a meeting for petition in every 
parish in Ireland, on Monday, 13th of January. 

" I should not presume to call your Lordship's particular atten- 
tion to this measure, or respectfully to solicit your countenance and 
support in your diocese, if I was not most deeply convinced of its 
extreme importance and utility. The combination of national 
action, all Catholic Ireland acting as one man, must necessarily 
have a powerful effect on the minds of the Ministry and of the entire 
British nation ; a people who can be thus brought to act together, 
and by one impulse, are too powerful to be neglected, and too for- 
midable to be long opposed. 

" Convinced, deeply, firmly convinced .of the importance of this 
measure, I am equally so of the impossibility of succeeding unless 
we obtain the countenance and support of the Catholic prelates 
of Ireland. To you, my Lord, I very respectfully appeal for that 
support. I hope and respectfully trust that in your diocese no 
paiish will be found deficient in activity and zeal. 

" I intend to publish in the papers the form of a petition for 
Emancipation, which "may be adopted in all places where no indi- 
vidual may be found able and willing to prepare a proper draft. 

" L am sorry to trespass thus on your Lordship's most valuable 
time, but I am so entirely persuaded of he vital utility of the 
measure of simultaneous meeting to petition, that I venture, over 
again, but in the most respectful manner, to urge on your kind and 
considerate attention the propriety of assisting in such manner as 
you may deem best to attain our object. 

" I have the honour to be, with profound respect, my Lord, your 
Lordship's most obedient humble servant, 

" Daniel O'Connell. 

"To the Right Rev. Dr MacIIale." 



O'Connell was well aware of the value of clerical co- 
operation, and no man ever desired it more. His plan 
succeeded to admiration ; simultaneous meetings were held 
in every part of Ireland at the same day and hour; and at 
the same time more effective arrangements were made for 
Catholic association. Churchwardens were appointed, one 
by the priest and the other by the parishioners, to collect 
the rent, to watch the landlords, to protect the tenants from 
prose! vti<m and from coercion in voting. Such organisa- 
tion was never attempted before in any nationality, and yet 
it was carried out to a degree of perfection worthy of the 
master-mind which originated and worked it out. 

Mr Canning's unexpected death dissolved his Cabinet. 
Lord Goderich came into office, and went out of it, " nobody 
knew how and nobody knew why." On the 22d January 
1828, the Wellington Ministry was formed. 4 In four 
months the Cabinet was rearranged in consequence of the 
disfranchisement of an English borough. The result was 
indeed momentous for Ireland. Mr Vesey Fitzgerald ob- 
tained a place, and consequently was obliged to vacate his 
seat for the county Clare. The omission of one word in the 
Act of Parliament enabled a Catholic to be elected, though 
it did not permit him to take his seat. We all know the 
result; but before we enter into details of that event, which 
an English statesman, who even at the moment had 

* « The king would not have Sir Robert Pee], to whose 1 bowing ' h« 
had serious objections." — Diary of Lord Colchester, vol. iii. p. 539. 



resigned his office, has described as " a new era in the history 
of Ireland" we shall say a few words of the men with 
whom 0' Conn ell worked, or, to put it more correctly, who 
worked with 0' Conn ell. 

And first — because first in Irish affection, and because 
the long and hitherto unknown correspondence which we 
now publish shows that he was first in 0' Council's confi- 
dence — we must name the Eev. Dr MacHale, the present 
Archbishop of Tuam. 

This distinguished prelate was born in 1791 at Tubber- 
navine, a village in the county Mayo. He belongs to an 
old and honourable family, who trace their pedigree back 
for many generations ; but as they preferred heavenly to 
earthly wealth, they sacrificed their temporal possessions for 
conscience' sake. 5 Even if his Grace were not distinguished 
as a theologian, a poet, and a man of letters, the Irish 
hearts of his people would cling to him fondly because 
of his fidelity. 

His early education was given to him at Castlebar, as 
best it could be when penal laws made knowledge forbidden 

5 The Archbishop of Tuam is directly descended from Bishop 
MacCaile, who received the profession of St Bridget. His family lived 
for centuries in the valley where Amalgaid, then king of that country, 
met St Patrick, and near the wood of Fochut. — (See Life of St Patrick, 
by the Author of the Illustrated History of Ireland, p. 526.) 

A considerable number of Dr MacHale's relatives on both sides of hia 
family have been priests. The Very Rev. U. Burke, of St Jarleth'a 
College, is his nephew, and is well-known as a scholar and writer on 
Celtic literature. 



fruit. His vocation to the service of God in the ecclesi- 
astical state manifested itself early, and he entered the 
College of Maynooth, where, after his ordination, he held 
the professorial chair of dogmatic theology for eleven years. 
The importance of this office can only be fully understood 
by Catholics, who know that their Church, and their Church 
alone, has a creed which it is heresy to deny, and which 
must be taught by all its priests, wherever scattered 
throughout the world, with harmony of expression. Being 
divine, it cannot vary, for with the Eternal Truth there is 
no changeableness. But as it must be taught by fallible 
mortals to others equally fallible, it is necessary that there 
should be an infallible authority to define even those deli- 
cate lines of expression which divide trnth from error. 
Such i> the province of the professor of dogmatic theology. 
He teaches to his students what they must teach to others 
in their turn, he having been taught himself by that 
Church founded by Christ, and taught not only what it 
should do, but what it should believe. The Divine injunc- 
tion was to go forth and teach all nations, not to dispute 
which of two opinions might be the more correct, but zu 
teach " whatsoever v they were " commanded." 6 

6 As many educated Protestants are not only ignorant of Catholic 
doctrine, but in many cases, from education or prejudice, are grievously 
misinformed, it may be well to observe— First, That we see in the 
Epistles h >w exactly the Apostles carried out the Divine instructions 
on this subject They taught a certain definite doctrine, and those who 
did not believe or accept that testimony were considered and treated as 



While at Maynooth, Dr MacHale was named Coadjutor 
Bishop of his native diocese, Killala, cum jure successions, 
and consecrated with the title of Mononia in partibus. lie 
published a series of letters while at Maynooth on the 
Bible Societies, the Protestant Church in Ireland, and 
Catholic Emancipation, under the signature of Hierophilus. 
In 1827, he published a work " On the Evidence and 
Doctrine of the Catholic Church," which is so highly 
esteemed that it has been translated into both French and 

During the Melbourne Administration, the well-known 
series of his letters appeared signed John Archbishop of 
Tuam. Like many distinguished Irish prelates, Dr MacHale 
was selected to preach the Lent at Rome during the spring 
of 1832 His lectures attracted so much attention that 
they were translated into Italian by the Abbate de Lucia, 
who has since been raised to the purple. Nor has Dr 
MacHale forgotten his native tongue. The melodies of 
Moore have been translated into Irish by his facile and 

heretics, Obviously if there were no definite rule of faith, there would 
be no harmony, and if variation of opinion were allowed on any one poini 
of doctrine, the faith would be no longer one. "Sects of perdition" 
are especially condemned in Holy Writ (2 Peter ii. 1). Secondly, The 
Church has power to decide controversies on matters of faith, and 
exercised this power from the very commencement (Acts xv. 7). There 
may be "much disputing" on any subject until the voice of Divine 
authority has spoken. Once it has spoken, there can be none. Obvi- 
ously the Church would be of no use as a teacher, unless she had poweJ 
to define what should, and what should not be believed. 



gifted pen. and part of the Iliad of Homer ; but, true to his 
exalted calling, he has not forgotten the poetry of Truth, 
and lie baa commenced the translation of the Holy Scrip- 
ture into hi* native tongue. 7 

Dr MacHale's work was done quietly. He was a tower 
of strength to O'Connell. His dignified defence when 
attacked by a petulant judge shows that he is still a 
tower of strength to Ireland. He stands yet, majestic and 
still as the grand old mountains of his native Conne- 
mara, ruling his flock in wisdom and power, and heeding 
but little the angry assaults of those who cannot reach his 

The Right Rev. Dr Doyle, though less a personal friend 
of O'Connell, devoted himself publicly to the cause of Ire- 
land and religion, and by his pen as well as by his bearing 

* In the year 1851, Mr Keogh, in his speech at the banquet given to 
him by his constituents in Athlone, spoke thus of Dr MacHale : — <; I see 
here the venerable prelates of my Church, first amongst them—' the 
observed of all observers' — the illustrious Archbishop cf Tuam, who, 
like that lofty tower which rises upon the banks of the yellow Tiber, 
the pride and protection of the city, is at once the glory and the guardian, 
lUc decus ct tutamen. of the Catholic religion." His reversal of this 
compliment in the year 1872 is amusing, and, as a matter of contem- 
porary history, deserves to be placed on record : — " His Lordship then 
dw.-H on the meeting in detail, observing with regard to the term 
1 Great Prelate of the West,' applied to the Archbishop of Tuam. de- 
nouncing the epithet as fulsome flattery. For his part, he had often 
considered whether he would not rather prefer to be well abused than 
lalsomely flattered, whether it would not be more offensive to have the 
Blaver of the tongue or the venom of the teeth." 



when under cross-examination before parliamentary com- 
mittees, did no little service. He was born at New Iloss, 
in the county Wexford, in 1786, and was educated at 
Coimbra in Portugal. He was a man of more fervour than 
quickness of thought, and of an ascetic habit of mind. The 
terrible events of the rebellion of 1 798 were vividly im- 
pressed in his memory, as he was then for some hours in 
personal danger. He was appointed Bishop of Kildare and 
Leighton at the early age of thirty-two, and his devotion 
to the affairs of his diocese, from the care of the very 
poorest of his people to the supervision of his clergy, was 
beyond all praise. He first appeared as a public writer 
when replying to an offensive charge delivered by the Pro- 
testant Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Magee. His letter elec- 
trified the Protestant party, and Catholics pointed to it with 
no little pride, as one of many evidences of the ability of 
their prelates. His style was singularly pure, and while 
entirely free from anything like invective, was none the 
less truculent. He has been paid the doubtful compli- 
ment of late years of not being " Ultramontane," 8 yet 
there never was a man more deeply and truly devoted to 
his Church. The following passage, which we extract from 

8 A writer in the Standard of August 17, 1872, describing the pictures 
hi the. Dublin Exhibition, says : — " Next hangs J. K. L. ,? [this was the 
nom de plume adopted by Dr Doyle], " who was too ranch of a scholar 
and a statesmen to countenance, had he lived, the Ultramontane tactica 
of the present da} 7 - in Ireland. Many thousand Eoman Catholic Irish- 
men sigh for the days of the Dr Doyle whom this picture vividly recalls/' 



his Vindication of Catholics, a letter addressed to the 
Marquis of Welleslcy, must have made a deep impression 
ou any mind not hopelessly prejudiced : — 

11 It was the creed, my Lord, of a Charlemagne and of a St Louis, 
of an Alfred and an Edward, of the monarchs of the feudal times, 
as well as of the emperors of Greece and Koine; it was believed at 
Venice and at Genoa, in Lucca, and the Helvetic nations in the days 
of their freedom and greatness ; all the barons of the Middle Ages, 
all the free cities of later times, professed the religion we now pro- 
fess. You well know, my Lord, that the charter of British freedom 
and the common law of England have their origin and source in 
Catholic times. Who framed the free constitutions of the Spanish 
Goths ? Who preserved science and literature during the long night 
of the Middle Ages? Who imported literature from Constantinople, 
and opened for her an asylum at Rome, Florence. Padua, Paris, and 
Oxford ? Who polished Europe by art, and refined her by legisla- 
tion ? Who discovered the New World, and opened a passage to 
another? Who were the masters of architecture, of painting, and 
of music] Who invented the compass and the art of printing] 
Who were the poets, the historians, the jurists, the men of deep 
research and profound literature ] Who have exalted human nature, 
and m ule man appear again little less than the angels ? Were they 
not, almost exclusively, the professors of our creed? Were they, 
wh«> created and possessed freedom under every shape and form, 
fcnfit for her enjoyment? Were men, deemed even now the lights 
of the world and the benefactors of the human race, the deluded 
victims of a slavish superstition? But what is there in our creed 

The writer of this paragraph probably never read the " Life of Dr 
Doyle." If he had done so, he would never have committed himself to 
the absard assertion that any Irish Catholic " sighs " for the days of 
penal laws, tithes, and Orange ascendancy. O'Connell's portrait in the 
same Exhibition is amusingly described with a small sarcasm as " show- 
ing him as he was, big, burly, theatrical, and overbearing. ■ 



which renders us unfit for freedom ? Is it the doctrine of passive 
obedience? No; for the obedience we yield to authority is not 
blind, but reasonable. Our religion does not create despotism ; it 
supports every established constitution which is not opposed to the 
laws of nature, unless it be altered by those who are entitled to 
change it. In Poland, it supported an elective monarch ; in France, 
an hereditary sovereign ; in Spain, an absolute or constitutional 
king, indifferently ; in England, when the houses of York and Lan- 
caster contended, it declared that he who was king de facto, was 
entitled to the obedience of the people. During the reign of the 
Tiidors, there was a faithful adherence of the Catholics to their 
prince, under trials the most severe and galling, because the consti- 
tution required it. The same was exhibited by them to the ungrate- 
ful race of Stuarts. But, since the expulsion of James (foolishly 
called an abdication), have they not adopted, with the nation at 
large, the doctrine of the Revolution — 'that the crown is held in 
trust for the benefit of the people ; and that, should the monarch 
violate his compact, the subject is freed from the bond of his allegi- 
ance V Has there been any form of government ever devised by 
man, to which the religion of Catholics has not been accommodated? 
Is there any obligation, either to a prince or to a constitution, which 
it does not enforce ? " 

Dr Doyle was examined before a parliamentary com- 
mittee in 1825. His examiners were under the impres- 
sion that they knew far more about the Catholic religion 
than he did, and their principal object was to try and en- 
trap him into some admission 9 which would be hostile to 

• Dr Doyle was asked the most absurd questions. If any of his exa- 
miners had taken the trouble to procure a Catholic Catechism from the 
poorest Irish girl in London, and had then studied it honestly, they 
would have obtained all the information they desired. The difficulty 
waa simply this : These members of Parliament, some of whom cer- 


the religion for which he would have given his life. Such 
ignorance ifi pitiable, and, unfortunately, even in the pre- 
sent day is not uncommon. To the educated Catholic, pre- 
late or gentleman, it would be simply amusing if it did not 
involve such serious consequences. Dr Doyle was very 
indignant. When a statue of this prelate was exhibited in 
Dublin, Lord Anglesea went to see it with a large party 
of gentlemen. One of the number observed that he 
had never seen Dr Doyle in that remarkable position. The 
Marquis replied, " I remember it well. When he was 
giving evidence before a committee in the Lords, a peer 
put a question to him about Catholic teaching. He flung 
up his arm just in that empathic manner and exclaimed, 

tainiy were honest-hearted and honourable men, had been educated in 
a system naturally and necessarily framed on the belief that Popery 
was founded on lies and corruption, else why would the " glorious Re- 
formation " have been necessary ? Men who did not believe in the 
"immortal memory r of the usurper William, or who cared very little 
about it. Relieved this. Their mothers had taught it to them, their 
fathers had acted upon it. Why, then, should it not be true ? Catholics 
indignantly deny their theory. They were too honest themselves to 
disbelieve their Catholic fellow-subjects altogether, yet they were too 
prejudiced to alter their own preconceived imaginary theory. The 
result M as hopeless confusion. They tried to get the Catholics to make 
admissions which would fall in with their theory ; but the Catholics 
would not make them, because their theory was false. They asked a 
dozen questions on one subject, and got a dozen clear answers, and yet 
they were not content, simply because they would not give up their 
preconceived theory. Lord Carbery wrote in despair on the subject to 
Lord Colchester. They had examined and re-examined Dr Doyle on the 
subject of Confession, the whole theology of which, dogmatic and moral, 
wa* disposed of in haif-a-dozan questions and answers in the Catechism, 



i I did not think there was a Protestant peer so ignorant 

as to ask that question.' " 

During Dr Doyle's examination, the Duke of Wellington 
left the room for a few moments in order to examine some 
parliamentary document. " Well, Duke," exclaimed a peer, 
who happened to be entering the committee room at the 
time, "are you examining Dr Doyle?" " No," replied 
the Dake drily, "but Doyle is examining us." 

Shiel was O'Connell's most active coadjutor in the 
early part of his career. He was born near Waterford, on 
16th of August 1791, and after spending some years with 
the Jesuits at Stoneyhurst, ended his academic career in 
Trinity College, Dublin, a circumstance which may perhaps 
account for his opposition to O'Connell on the Veto 
question. In 1823 he again joined with O'Connell, as 

which they had not read, and which, if they had, they would not be- 
lieve. Nothing could he done with such men, either in the early or the 
latter part of the 19th century, except to leave them to their ignorance. 
Lord Carbery was sure that " the Confessional was the source of all the 
barbarous and bloody scenes which disgraced Ireland." He had indeed 
learned from Dr Doyle that a Catholic could not receive absolution 
unless he was truly penitent, that being all that God required ; but Loid 
Carbery and other Protestant noblemen required a great deal more 
from the Irish peasant. The priest was to act as spy, informer, police- 
man, and at least moral executioner. He was not to give absolution to 
the penitent unless the penitent gave himself up to human justice. 
Lord Carbery knew very little of the religion of the Bible, or he 
would have remembered the example of Him who said to the peni- 
tent, u Go, and sin no more," and who did not require her or any of thosj 
whom He forgave to make public confession of their crimes. 



already related. Mr North said of him, that he had erred 
in the choice of a profession, and that if he had cultivated 
the drama instead of law, he would have equalled Shake- 
speare. His physique was anything but attractive; he was 
small of stature, careless as to personal appearance; his 
voice was shrill, but his bursts of eloquence thrilled to 
the very souls of his audience. His complexion was 
dark, and his hair fair and unkempt. Yet this man 
had a soul that poured itself forth in such torrents of 
eloquence as are rarely heard, and a magnetic power which 
kept his hearers spell-bound and entranced. He generally 
entered the Association when the business was nearly 
elided, and while O'Connell was speaking. There was not 
much difference in their age, yet the great master spoke 
of him as " his eloquent young friend, whose power and 
genius were unequalled by the orators of Greece and Rome 
in the days of their brightest glory." 

He always dressed in black, with white neckcloth, and 
he always wore black kid gloves. When at the close of 
some thrilling and truly terrible outburst, he would draw off 
one glove, and stretch forth his white delicate hand to 
heaven, as if calling down vengeance on the oppressors of 
his race. His finest speech was that already mentioned, 
when he replied to Lord Lyndhurst's unwise onslaught on 
the Irish nation, and asked, " Where was Arthur Duka of 
Wellington when these words were uttered ? Breathlessly 
he should have started up to disclaim them — 




* The battles, sieges, fortunes, that he passed,' 

ought to have come back upon him." 

In 1825 he would certainly have become subject to a 

Government prosecution only for the death of Lord Liver 

pool. The memoirs of Wolfe Tone had just been brought 

to Ireland. Shiel possessed himself of a copy, and made it 

the subject of comment in a manner which could not fail 

to excite the anger and the fury of England. He spoke like 

an " enraged prophet : " — 

" Let England,'' he said, " beware of another Wolfe Tone. Let 
her not rely for safety on her old protectors, the winds / She may call 
upon them in her hour of peril, but they may not come, or should 
they volunteer their force, it will be subdued by the power of steam. 
A vote of the Catholics of 1793 procured for Tone an introduction 
to the French Directory, and the sympathy of its legions. Let 
England remember that the Catholics of 1825 are more than double 
those of 1793. The hair of Samson has grown again. Should 
oppression drive the Catholics to the field, England will not find the 
Catholic altars of the nineteenth century barriers to their impetuo- 
sity and revenge ! " 

He lost his popularity, great as it was, for a time, by 
accepting a retainer from Lord George Beresford in his 
contest for Waterford ; and he did not improve his position 
in a national point of view by siding with the Government 
lie had so often denounced, and accepting a silk gown as 
his reward. 

He came forward again in 1832, when the Repeal 
agitation commenced ; was returned on Repeal principles 
for Tipperary, and was the bitter opponent of Sir Robert 


Peel as long as lie remained in the House of Commons. 
He was counsel for Mr John O'Connell at the State 
Trials. He died in 1851, and, like many a more consistent 
Irishman, is buried in a foreign land. 

" Honest Jack Lawless " was a Belfast man, and editor 
of the Irishman, then published in that city. He was a 
powerful, earnest speaker. He was something of an ori- 
ginal character also, and was generally in opposition to 
O'Connell. He went to the bar late in life, and died in 
1S40, a few months after receiving the appointment of 
assistant barrister. 

Henry Grattan, the second son of the Grattan, was the 
first member of Parliament who joined the Repeal move- 
ment after the O'Connells. Pie did not take a prominent 
part in public affairs until that period when O'Connell wa3 
imprisoned, when he dared the Government in the mor t 
fearless language; but for some unknown reason he w** 
not indicted. 

Mr 0' Gorman Mahon was a prominent and most active 
member of the Association. He was a clear and effective 
speaker, and his personal appearance was very much in his 
favour. He was one of those who joined in putting down 
the disastrous attempts made by English members of Par- 
liament to prevent the Irish Roman Catholic members from 
speaking in the House. O'Connell styled these attacks 
" beastly bellowing," and " ruffianly interruption." Tha 
language was strong, but hon. members did " bellow," 


and some of the sounds they emitted very closely resembled 
the inarticulate cries of the lower creation. The word 
ruffianly " was unparliamentary, but so was the conduct 
of those gentlemen, although the Irish members only were 
made the subjects of such interruptions, 1 the object of which 
w T as to silence them. 0' Gorman Mahon, O'Connell's two 
sons, John and Maurice, Mr O'Dwyer, and a few others, 
wished to put down these ungentlemanly interruptions in 
the only way in which they could be put down. In the 
midst of cries of " Chair " and " Order," the party walked 
across the floor of the House of Commons, and politely 
\ resented their cards to the Tory gentlemen who led the 
attack. A scene followed of another and stormier kind, 
but this interruption was not put down until 0' Gorman 
challenged Sir James Graham, and Morgan O'Connell 
fought Lord Alvanley. 

Steele was another of O'Connell's enthusiastic followers, 
lie was a man of great energy and poetic temperament, 
which led him to prefer " forlorn hopes" to more ordinary 
battlefields. He set off in early life on a somewhat 

1 The English House of Commons has not always been remarkable 
for gravity and gentlemanly demeanour in debate, and even in the 
Lords, propriety is not always observed. On the 22d April 1831, there 
was " a state of confusion almost unexampled since the dispersion of the 
Long Parliament by Oliver Cromwell." The noise was so great no one 
could hear what was said. The Duke of Richmond was at last obliged 
to move that the standing order against the use of " offensive language," 
should be read. — Mansardy iii. 1806. 



Quixotic expedition to assist the overthrow of monarchy in 
Spain, and proved his earnestness by mortgaging his pro- 
perty for ten thousand pounds to purchase military stores. 
On his return he joined O'Connell, and became Head 

Mr Barrett was another very effective ally of the Repeal 
party. As a journalist he did much and effective service. 
He was frequently prosecuted by Government, and was 
imprisoned three times. In 1827 he established the Pilot, 
which bec ame O'Connell's principal organ. This paper was 
printed in the office of the Morning and Weekly Register, 
and when it was suppressed by Government, Barrett easily 
continued it, evading the law by changing the title, which 
he now made to run thus : — " The Morning Register — the 
Pilot having been suppressed" Evidently it was not easy 
to suppress Mr Barrett. The Pilot was an evening paper, 
and was kept up as such with its new title, and, of course, 
increased largely in circulation. 

In 1833 he was prosecuted for publishing a letter of 
O'Connell's which first appeared in the London Morning 
Chronicle, and which presumably became treasonable by its 
transmission back across the Channel. Shiel was engaged 
for the defence, but on the very evening of the trial he 
became either ill, or unwilling to act, and returned his 
brief. O'Connell was, therefore, obliged to lead himself. 
Barrett was found guilty, as he expected, and sentenced to 
six months' imprisonment. He might have saved himself 



by giving up 0' Conn ell's name as the author, but he wag 
far too true a patriot. 

Mr Hay, better known to O'Connellites as " My dear Hay," 
belongs to later times, with other men who served the great 
Liberator for a time, but with less heartiness than urn 
earlier followers, 



Utoland's answer to Ireland's car TOR JUSTICE — DECLINE SINCE THE DATS 



The English Government boasted of its free- 
dom — wonderful things were said about Magna 
Charta, the " palladium of t ie people's rights,*' 
for which, be it. noted, the pe pie were indebted to 
the Catholic clergy, as they are still indebted to 
the Catholic clergy in Ire and for protection 
against landlord coercion at e.ections. But, how- 
ever excellent the constitutkn of England may 
have been, the Irish were n- 1 permitted to enjoy 
its benefits. 



When their own Brehon law, sacred to them by its even- 
handed justice and its centuries of observance, was taken 
from them, they asked again and again to be allowed the 
justice of English law. But no ; for all reply they got the 
sword, the triangle, and the gallows. Their cries for 
justice were silenced occasionally by brute force by men 
like Cole, Coote, Bagnel, Cromwell, and Grey, 2 who did the 
devil's work, and enjoyed it thoroughly, because, as yet, 
they had not the devil's sufferings to bear as well. The 
Irish were "dogges" to be shot down, and hunted, and 
got rid of, if possible ; but then it was not always possible, 
and despite hunting, and shooting, and violent banish- 
ment to Con naught and Jamaica, and polite banishment 
to continental countries, the Irish race grew and prospered 

From the time of Henry VIII., the prestige of the Eng- 
lish nation steadily declined. The decline was slow, but it 
was none the less sure. All the bright and fair chivalry 
which found its embodiment in early ages in Arthur, and 
in mediaeval times in the Black Prince, died out — died of 
inanition. There can be no physical or spiritual beauty 

2 A cursory acquaintance with Irish history will supply details of the 
bloody work done by these men. In the " Commons' Proceedings " of 
1644, vol. iii. p. 517, it is recorded that Captain Swanley, having cap- 
tured a vessel at sea, and thrown seventy persons overboard because tltev 
were Irish, was summoned to the bar of the House, and had thanks there 
given him for his good service, and a chain of gold. 1 ' This wa3 by no 
means an exceptional case. — See Clarendon^ vol. ii. p. 478. 



tfithout life. The life died out in England when it denied 
the source of life. The foul filthy immorality of the 
Court of Henry VIIL, the first " head " of the Protestant 
Church, was perpetuated in the reign of the Virgin Queen, 
with this difference only, that it was a little disguised. A 
very slight acquaintance with history is sufficient to prove 
what the Courts of the Georges and the Williams were. 
The vices of the Courts descended to the people. What, 
indeed, was there to prevent the descent? And as corrup- 
tion of mind and morals became more and more prevalent, 
60 did hatred of that race become more and more intense 
which had kept its morality because it kept its faith 
practically. 3 

At the commencement of the present century, it was 
discovered that the services of Irishmen were necessary for 
the very existence of the British Empire. She boasts of 
her victories, and with justice; but they were won for her 
by Irish soldiers. Irishmen came at last to know their 
own value to England, to see that some price, however 
trifling, could be put upon their services. England was 

3 Protestants who cannot deny the morality and exceptional freedom 
from ciime in Ireland, point to continental countries also Catholic, and 
ask why are these countries not equally moral ? The answer is simple. 
We deny that Catholic countries are less moral, using the word in a 
broad sense, than Protestant countries. Protestant tourists admit this, 
"With the exception of a few prejudiced persons. If Ireland is excep- 
tionally moral, it is because the Irish practise their religion, as a people, 
and have always done so, more faithfully than any other nation. 



not in a position to deny the debt, but she paid by instal- 
ments and as scantily as possible. It would have been better 
to have made a virtue of necessity. So it came to pass that, 
in the year 1829, an Irish Catholic freeholder was allowed 
to vote theoretically : practically, however, the vote was 
of little use ; — he dared not disobey his landlord, and, above 
all, he dared not vote for any individual who could really 
be his representative, since no Catholic could sit in the 
Imperial Parliament. The whole system of parliamentary 
representation was an anomaly, — it is an anomaly even 
yet to a certain extent, and probably will be to the end of 
time, since there will always be a power to which the "free 
and independent elector " must bow — or take the con- 
sequences. As a general rule, electors do not see why they 
should take the consequences. O'Connell taught them for 
the first time to act as free men. 

In the year 1825, there was an election in Waterford ; 
and then, for the first time, Irishmen knew that it was 
possible for them to be free and independent if they dared. 
The Beresfords were lords of the soil, and expected their 
serfs to obey them. They had been obeyed until now. A 
Catholic population was compelled to vote for an Orange 
representative ; it was that — or starvation. Mr Stuart 
came forward now to oppose Lord George Beresford, and 
engaged O'Connell as counsel. He chose wisely. At the 
hustings, O'Connell was proposed merely to give him the 
opportunity of speaking, for the idea of the election of a 



Catholic does not seem to have occurred to any of the 
national party. The indignation of the Orange clique may 
be better imagined than described. They were no longer 
the " recognized leaders " of the people— their power had 
received a blow which it never recovered. 

O'Connell spoke for two hours, and then withdrew the 
claim he had no intention of prosecuting; but his purpose 
was answered. Lord George withdrew in a few days, when 
he perceived that there was not the least hope of his return, 
and Mr Stuart was elected. 

This success gave an impetus to the cause of freedom. 
The people learned that it was possible for them to exer- 
cise the power which they had hitherto believed to be 
merely ideal. They began to see that it was for them to 
decide whether they would be " free and independent 
electors," or mere voting machines. They saw the cost also ; 
but when did an Irishman ever shrink from personal sacri- 
fice for the good of his country ? 4 

Curiously enough, O'Connell's return for Clare was sug- 

4 Shiel used to tell an anecdote of this election, of -which he vouched 
for the accuracy. Lord Waterford was dying at the time, but the ruling 
passion was strong in death. He heard that his own huntsman, Manton, 
was going to "vote against him" He sent for the old and faithful 
follower ; but though the poor man's heart was sore, both from affection 
for his old master, and the knowledge of the consequence of exercising 
his right, he refused to vote " against his country and his religion." The 
dying peer had his revenge. Manton was dismissed, deprived of his 
farm, and driven out on the world a beggar. 



gested by a Tory. This gentleman, Sir David Roose, was 
under considerable personal obligations to O'Connell. He 
met Mr Fitzpatrick, the son of the well-known Catholic 
bookseller, in Nassau Street, who informed him that Mr 
Fitzgerald would be obliged to seek re-election for Clare, 
and suggested that O'Connell should oppose him. Mr 
Fitzpatrick went instantly to O'Connell, who was by no 
means disposed to enter upon the contest. Mr Yesey Fitz- 
gerald was a Liberal, and had acted very fairly towards the 
Catholics, but he was not a Catholic. No Catholic had 
ever yet stood for Parliament since the time when every 
member of Parliament was a Catholic; it was time that 
something should be done to assert their claims. O'Con- 
nell saw this, and he saw also that such an opportunity 
might not occur again for a considerable period. 

With him to decide was to act. He went at once to 
the office of the Evening Post and wrote his address. 
This paper had now passed into the hands of Mr Con- 
way, with whom O'Connell was not on friendly terms; 
but all discord was at an end when the Liberator entered 
his office, declared his purpose, and exclaimed, " Let us 
be friends!" 

The address was soon written, and that evening all 
Dublin was in a state of wild excitement; and in a few 
days the flame had extended throughout Ireland, and 
reached to England. 

The address was masterly, and worthy to be the first 



appeal to Irish electors from one of their own ancient 
faith : — 


" Dublin, June 1828. 

u FELLOW- COUNTRYMEN, — Your county wants a representative. 
L respectfully solicit your suffrages to raise me to that station. 

" Of my qualifications to fill that station I leave you to judge. The 
habits of public speaking, and many, many years of public business, 
render me, perhaps, equally suited with most men to attend to the 
interests of Ireland in Parliament. 

4i You will be told I am not qualified to be elected. The assertion, 
my friends, is untrue. T am qualified to be elected, and to be your 
representative. It is true that, as a Catholic, I cannot, and of course 
never will, take the oaths at present prescribed to members of Par- 
liament; but the authority which created these oaths (the Parliament) 
can abrogate them ; and I entertain a confident hope that, if you 
elect me, the most bigoted of our enemies will see the necessity of 
removing from the chosen representative of the people an obstacle 
which would prevent him from doing his duty to his King and to his 

" The oath at present required by law is, 1 that the sacrifice of the 
mass, and the invocation of the blessed Virgin Mary, and other 
saints, as now practised in the Church of Rome, are impious and 
idolatrous.' Of course I will never stain my soul with such an oath. 
I leave that to my honourable opponent, Mr Vesey Fitzgerald. He 
has often taken that horrible oath. He is ready to take it again, 
and asks your votes to enable him so to swear. I would rather t>e 
torn limb from limb than take it. Electors of the county of Clare ! 
choose between me, who abominate that oath, and Mr Vesey Fitz- 
gerald, who has sworn it full twenty times ! Return me to Parlia- 
ment, and it is probable that such a blasphemous oath will be 
abolished for ever. As your representative, I will try the question 
with the friends in Parliament of Mr Vesey Fitzgerald. They may 



send me to prison. I am ready to go there, to promote the cause of 
the Catholics, and of universal liberty. The discussion which the 
atto.inpt to exclude your representative from the House of Commons 
must excite, will create a sensation all over Europe, and produce 
such a burst of contemptuous indignation against British bigotry in 
every enlightened country in the world, that the voice of all the 
great and good in England, Scotland, and Ireland, being joined to 
the universal shout of the nations of the earth, will overpower 
every opposition, and render it impossible for Peel and Wellington 
any longer to close the doors of the constitution against the Catholics 
of Ireland. 

" Electors of the county of Clare ! Mr Vesey Fitzgerald claims, as 
his only merit, that he is a friend to the Catholics. Why, I am a 
Catholic myself ; and if he be sincerely our friend, let him vote for 
me, and raise before the British Empire the Catholic question in my 
humble person, in the way most propitious to my final success. But 
no, fellow-countrymen, no ; he will make no sacrifice to that cause; 
he will call himself your friend, and act the part of your worst and 
most unrelenting enemy. 

" I do not like to give the epitome of his political life ; yet, 
when the present occasion so loudly calls for it, I cannot refrain. 
He took office under Perceval, — under that Perceval who obtained 
power by raising the base, bloody, and unchristian cry of 'No 
Popery 5 in England. 

" He had the nomination of a member to serve for the borough 
of Ennis. He nominated Mr Spencer Perceval, then a decided 
opponent of the Catholics. 

" He voted on the East Retford measure — for a measure that 
would put two virulent enemies of the Catholics into Parliament. 

" In the case of the Protestant Dissenters in England, he voted 
for their exclusion — that is, against the principle of the freedom of 
conscience ; that sacred principle which the Catholics of Ireland have 
ever cultivated and cherished, on which we framed our rights to 
ei Mancipation. 



" Finally, he voted for the suppression of the Catholic Association 
of Ireland ! 

u And, after this, sacred Heaven ! he calls himself a friend to the 

<; He is the ally and colleague of the Duke of Wellington and Mr 
Peel. He is their partner in power ; they are, you know, the most 
bitter, persevering, and unmitigated enemies of the Catholics ; and, 
after ail this, he, the partnerof our bitterest and unrelenting enemies, 
calls himself the friend of the Catholics of Ireland. 

" Having thus traced a few of the demerits of my right honour- 
able opponent, what shall I say for myself? 

" I appeal to my past life for my unremitting and disinterested 
attachment to the religion and liberties of Catholic Ireland. 

" If you return me to Parliament, T pledge myself to vote for 
every measure favourable to Radical REFORM in the representative 
system, so that the House of Commons may truly, as our Catholic 
ancestors intended it should do, represent all the people. 

" To vote for the repeal of the Vestry Bill, the Subletting Act, 
and the Grand Jury Laws. 

" To vote for the diminution and more equal distribution of the 
overgrown wealth of the Established Church in Ireland, so that the 
surplus may be restored to the sustentation of the poor, the aged, 
and the infirm. 

" To vote for every measure of retrenchment and reduction of 
the national expenditure, so as to relieve the people from the bur- 
dens of taxation, and to bring the question of the REPEAL OF 
THE UNION, at the earliest possible period, before the considera- 
tion of the Legislature. 

" Electors of the county of Clare ! choose between me and Mr 
Vesey Fitzgerald ; choose between him who so long cultivated his 
own interest, and one who seeks only to advance yours; choose 
between the sworn libeller of the Catholic faith, and one who has 
devoted his early life to your cause, who has consumed his manhood 
in a struggle for your liberties, and who has ever lived, and is ready 



to die, for the integrity, the honour, the purity, of the Catholic 
faith and the promotion of Irish freedom and happiness. Your 
faithful servant, Daniel O'CONNELL." 

The next movement was to collect funds. In one week 
fourteen thousand pounds were at his command. Cork, 
always liberal for country or religion, helped considerably to 
swell the amount. Canvassers were wanted, too, as O'Con- 
nell could not leave Dublin until the last moment ; and they 
were found also. Mr Shiel, who arrived several days before 
O'Connell, was his counsel. Father Tom, as the Rev. Dr 
Maguire was familiarly termed, went also. Mr Eonayne, 
a Cork man — one of the famous Cork Ronaynes — accom- 
panied him. A host of lesser Repeal luminaries followed; 
but Father Tom and Mr Ronayne were very towers of 
strength, for they spoke to the people in their own old 
Celtic tongue, and told them why the Liberator was the 
best man for Ireland. 

When all this was known in England, the consternation 
was terrible. The old war-cries were declaimed with double 
vigour. Lord Clancarty wrote in a panic of alarm from the 
Under-Secretary's Lodge in Dublin about " the state of 
the country," — that unhappy country, which is always 
in a " state," unpleasant, from one cause or another, to 
English legislators. He uttered loud complaints of the 
" unalterable hostility" of the Roman Catholics " to us;" 
but he forgot to add, as he was too prejudiced to see, that 
their hostility was not to individuals, but to a system. 



They would have been strange men these Irish Catholics, 
and very unworthy of their manhood, if they had not been 
hosrile to a system which did not permit them a voice in 
their own government. They talked " loudly " about " Par- 
liamentary reform," that was another of their crimes; yet 
Parliament reformed itself soon after. Every "rational 
man, "—an expression which he glossed, every man agreeing 
with Lord Clancarty,— was disgusted with these miserable 
Iris !i. They would not sit down and hug their chains— 
they would assist themselves— they would declare that they 
should have the rights of men. If they had